Presentation Title

The Venus Figurines: What Were They, and Who Were They Intended For?

Presenter Information

Emily O’Neal

Document Type

Panel Presentation

Keywords

Venus Figurine, Archeology, Parietal Art

Biography

Emily O'Neal is an undergraduate student in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology.

Major

Anthropology

Advisor for this project

Kristi Fondren

Start Date

22-4-2021 9:15 AM

Abstract

The Venus figurines have been fascinating archaeologists for many years, ever since the first was discovered in 1864 in France. What were they? How were they made? This paper hopes the answer that. They are typically depicted with exaggerate secondary sexual characteristics, with large bellies, breasts, thighs, and buttocks, and have no arms or feet. They date back to the Upper Paleolithic, with most being made in the Gravettian period approximately 27,000 years ago. Prehistoric art falls into two different categories – parietal and mobiliary. Parietal encompasses all forms of cave drawings, while mobiliary is anything that can be transportable. There are several working theories for what the Venus figurines were for, including a representation of the female Supreme Creator, a woman’s view of her own body, a sexual or fertility symbol, and a symbol of the ideal woman’s body shape during this time. Some limitations of this study include time. In conclusion, the Venus figurines were a symbol of survival and hope for the future. They directly correlated in size to the rise and fall of the glaciers during the Ice Age, with the most heavyset ones being made when the glaciers were advancing, and the relatively smaller ones being made when they were retreating.

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Apr 22nd, 9:15 AM

The Venus Figurines: What Were They, and Who Were They Intended For?

The Venus figurines have been fascinating archaeologists for many years, ever since the first was discovered in 1864 in France. What were they? How were they made? This paper hopes the answer that. They are typically depicted with exaggerate secondary sexual characteristics, with large bellies, breasts, thighs, and buttocks, and have no arms or feet. They date back to the Upper Paleolithic, with most being made in the Gravettian period approximately 27,000 years ago. Prehistoric art falls into two different categories – parietal and mobiliary. Parietal encompasses all forms of cave drawings, while mobiliary is anything that can be transportable. There are several working theories for what the Venus figurines were for, including a representation of the female Supreme Creator, a woman’s view of her own body, a sexual or fertility symbol, and a symbol of the ideal woman’s body shape during this time. Some limitations of this study include time. In conclusion, the Venus figurines were a symbol of survival and hope for the future. They directly correlated in size to the rise and fall of the glaciers during the Ice Age, with the most heavyset ones being made when the glaciers were advancing, and the relatively smaller ones being made when they were retreating.