Venus of Willendorf

Venus figurines interest me, as does the Paleolithic in general. Having already written a short post about these artefacts,  I thought I might follow it up with a closer look at one of them…

The Venus of Willendorf is perhaps the most famous of venus figurines, although it is not the oldest.

Photo credit: Wikipedia

Dating from between 24,000-22,ooo years before present, the Venus of Willendorf  is carved out of oolithic limestone, and coloured with red ochre.  She was unearthed in 1908, outside the village of Willendorf in Austria.  The area was well-known for its paleolithic history prior to her discovery.

The detail on the Venus is amazing, even though it was carved many thousands of years ago.  If you look closely you can see the details of her hands resting on top of her breasts and then there is the pattern around her head…

There has been much debate as to whether the pattern on the head represents hair, a head covering of some sort, or whether it is only that, a pattern.

What is noteworthy, is the lack of facial features.  Obviously, from the rest of the figurine we know that whoever carved it had a great understanding of the female form and as we have already mentioned, the detail given to other areas is striking.  So why no face?

The most often-quoted explanation is that she represents some kind of paleolithic goddess, although there is much debate surrounding this theory.

The figurine now resides in the Naturhistoriches Museum, Austria.


About sammi witch

writer and witch...
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9 Responses to Venus of Willendorf

  1. Pingback: Looking Back – 2012 | The Life and Times of a Forever Witch

  2. Cassandra says:

    Merry meet Sammiwitch! 🙂
    The reason why the Venus doesn’t have a face is that she represents fertility. You can see that her breasts and hips and larger than normal, while there’s a lack of facial features and her arms are smaller (and not important in this case). In Paleolithic, men and women were (still) equal; women were maybe even more important, as they took care of the family, while men were hunting for food. (I took History as an elective course, and we talked about Paleolithic culture on our first meeting.)
    Blessed be.

    • sammiwitch says:

      Thanks for sharing that Cassandra. 🙂 I enjoy reading about the varying theories and explanations that surround the venus figurines and will hopefully get around to putting up a post on it soon. Brightest Mabon Blessings ~*~)O(~*~

  3. There was a jewelry designer about 20 years ago, his name was David something. He made sterling bracelets and some had a similar goddess charm at the clasp. They were really cool. I wanted one but never got one. cool post. I just Googled in attempt to find but cannot. Much love.

  4. Forgot to say thanks for such a geat post.

  5. To me, the fact that she has no face suggests that it is because she represents or protects every woman.

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