Venus of Willendorf

1053 WordsApr 13, 20055 Pages
This paper will discuss relative points and insights relating to sculpture of the Paleolithic era, specifically the Venus of Willendorf, through the essays of Christopher Witcombe. Venus is a term that has long been associated with artwork, most specifically the classical forms of beautiful women. The term Venus has also come to represent female sculptures of the Paleolithic era. The most notable of these female sculptures is the Venus of Willendorf, 24,000-22,000 BCE. The age of the figurine has been changed several times. Originally when found the date was estimated to be 15,000 to 10,000 BCE. During the 1970's the time period was adjusted to 25,000 to 20,000 BCE; the date was again recalculated in the 1980's to 30,000 to 25,000 BCE;…show more content…
An overweight female might have conceived more easily tens of thousands of years ago than an undernourished female. Therefore, being fat would be more desirable if trying to reproduce. Another factor that supports Witcombe's belief the sculpture was used for fertility purposes is the attention paid to the pubic area. The genital area is deliberately exposed and when the figurine was discovered, it still had a small trace of a red pigment visible. This detail brings Witcombe to suggest that the figurine's fertility role may have also served in a gynecological fashion as a good luck talisman to aid in conception or childbirth. If this assumption is true, then Witcombe believes that the image was carved by a female, since males would have less concern over such matters. The Venus of Willendorf is not the only sculpture from the Paleolithic era to survive the millennia. Other images have survived and many of them are similar to the Venus of Willendorf. The existence of these other sculptures of like design found from France to Siberia is very interesting. More figurines reflecting the female form have been found than of the male form leading experts to suggest that the Paleolithic societies may have been based on a matriarchal society (Witcombe, sec. 4). Given the accuracy of the representation of the anatomy depicted in the Venus of Willendorf, that is the way the breasts hang and the way the "fat"
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