Thursday, May 14, 2009

35,000 Year Old Paleolithic Art Figurine

Excavations at a cave in the Swabian Jura area of southern Germany have recovered a female figurine carved from mammoth ivory. It lay among bones of a horse, reindeer, cave bear, mammoth and ibex. The figurine is the earliest depiction of a human, and  one of the oldest known examples of figurative art worldwide, was made at least 35,000 years ago. This discovery radically changes our views of the context and meaning of the earliest Paleolithic art.

It was thought that a masterpiece of artistry like this was not possible among the paleolithic people living in that region of Europe, but there she is in all of her over-sexual glory [sans head]. Why no head? Who knows, but there is a hole just above the shoulders that suggests that she was worn as a pendant. Archaeologists suggest that she was part of a fertility rite.

Although artistic representations of animals have been discovered that date to this time period, this is the first 3-D human ever found. The 'Venus of Hohle Fels' as she is named, will be a center piece for a major exhibit in Stuttgart entitled Ice Age Art and Culture, which will run from September 18, 2009 – January 10, 2010. Too bad I was there two years ago; quite bad timing.

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