A famous prehistoric figurine that dates back to 25 or 28,000 years ago. Or, Gravettian industry. It was discovered in 1908, in Willendorf, Austria.
It is 4.4-inch (11.1 cm) high
Exaggerated voluptuous features. The figurine lacks facial features but prominently emphasizes the female form, with large breasts, a rounded belly, wide hips, and thighs. Her arms rest on her breasts, and her genital area is accentuated. She is often depicted wearing a headdress or head covering. Due to nude depictions, with often exaggerated sexual features. They are referred to as ‘goddesses’ or ‘venus’ by some.
There is speculation. Like other similar sculptures, it probably never had feet
It might have been pegged into soft ground. And since parts of the body are associated with fertility and childbearing. Perhaps the figurine being there could have helped.
Many have hypothesized this (and other) venus figurines. Are shaped as if women are looking down at themselves. And, that it’s missing it’s facial features because they did not have mirrors. Though some argue puddles can be used as mirrors. Its debatable.
A couple areas could have been the oolite limestones source
Including northern Italy, near lake Garda. And, the eastern Ukraine. Which is quite far but similar styled figurines have been found here. Its believed the venus is tinted with red ocra.
The Venus of Willendorf is now housed in the Natural History Museum in Vienna, Austria. It remains a notable example of Paleolithic art and culture.
The purpose and significance remain a subject of debate. Some theories suggest that it may have been a fertility symbol, representation of a mother goddess, a form of art, or for ritual purposes. The exaggerated and stylized female form of the figurine has made it an iconic symbol. It will continue to capture the imagination of people interested in prehistoric art and archaeology.
Venus of Willendorf (http://witcombe.sbc.edu/willendorf/willendorfdiscovery.html) Archived (https://web.archive.org/web/20070927015807/http://witcombe.sbc.edu/willendorf/willendorfdiscovery.html) Wayback Machine Christopher L. C. E. Witcombe, 2003.
Antl-Weiser, Walpurga (2009). “The time of the Willendorf figurines and new results of palaeolithic research in Lower Austria” (http://puvodni.mzm.cz/Anthropologie/article.php?ID=5).
Anthropologie. Brno. 47 (1–2): 131–141.