Famous Curves: Venus of Willendorf

by Sigrid Strohschneider-Laue March. 28, 2018 3037 views

Paleolithic human figurines are rare and every piece is unique. Almost all of them are women. They are widespread from France to Russia. The 29,500-year-old Venus of Willendorf is one of the most treasured pieces in the prehistoric collection of Naturhistorisches Museum in Vienna. She isn't the only Paleolithic figurine in Austria, not the oldest and not the only one from Willendorf, but she is the most famous woman of Austria, besides the Austrian "Twiggy" - Empress consort of Austria Elisabeth (Sisi, 1837–1898). I'm sure most tourists will know more about Sisi, but Venus of Willendorf had always the more attractive curves. On the other hand she was in some way a little bit younger, because she was uncovered 8th August 1908 – long after Sisi was stabbed to death.

Venus of Willendorf (11 cm) is carved from a oolitic limestone. She was covered with red ochre and hidden in a small pit. Curvaceous Venus of Willendorf is naked except for bracelets on both of her arms and either wearing a cap or a specific hairstyle.

There are limits to reveal the hidden secrets of this and all the other figurines. At least they have some things in common: red color, very voluptuous figures, seldom faces, no feet, almost all of them are naked or wearing only very few pieces of clothes and/or jewelry.

Today we can only speculate about the ideas behind this figurines, but the people back then must have had some common ideas about this figurines. Since the first Venus figurines were found almost every scientist (again a lot of male scientist had - and still have - at least some strange ideas about females) called them symbols of fertility, because of their nakedness, good visible sexual characteristics and voluptuous curves (pregnancy?).

But in the end we know almost everything and at the same time nothing about this figurines.

Of course I didn't photograph today the original Venus of Willendorf. It was a birthday present from my sister-in-law more than a twenty years ago. I use this figurine for lectures, but I also like her a lot as a tremendous piece of art. She has also potential for identification - give me two more decades and I will look like her – at least I have already the same citizenship. As a foreigner I have to adapt somehow ...
Maybe Facebook will delete my account because of this post!

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There are 14 comments , add yours!
Mooreeffoc 1 year, 6 months ago

The NHM is my favourite museum in the world! Beautiful shots of a fascinating object!

1 year, 6 months ago Edited
Sigrid Strohschneider-Laue Replied to Mooreeffoc 1 year, 6 months ago

Nice compliment for the NHM and I completely agree with you!

1 year, 6 months ago Edited
Berckmans Peter 1 year, 6 months ago

Indeed very famous curves.Let her keep her secrets,we do not have to know everything. A woman needs her secretssmile

1 year, 6 months ago Edited
Sigrid Strohschneider-Laue Replied to Berckmans Peter 1 year, 6 months ago

French-Russian connection by an early form of matryoshka-barbies? smile

1 year, 6 months ago Edited
Berckmans Peter Replied to Sigrid Strohschneider-Laue 1 year, 6 months ago

What is inside,thst is the question

1 year, 6 months ago Edited
Sigrid Strohschneider-Laue Replied to Berckmans Peter 1 year, 6 months ago

sometimes stone, sometimes ivory and always inside out. ;)

1 year, 6 months ago Edited
Antonio Gil 1 year, 6 months ago

I was really hoping your curves theme would be something outside the box and I was right. The censor in Facebook must be red by now smile

1 year, 6 months ago Edited
Sigrid Strohschneider-Laue Replied to Antonio Gil 1 year, 6 months ago

Facebook will always pick out the wrong raisins ...

1 year, 6 months ago Edited
Camellia Staab 1 year, 6 months ago

Ha! I don't need any decades, I am starting to look like her already.  But then again I am probably many decades older than you.  She definitely has lots of curves :)

1 year, 6 months ago Edited
Sigrid Strohschneider-Laue Replied to Camellia Staab 1 year, 6 months ago

all the right stuff in the wrong places ... *sigh*

1 year, 6 months ago Edited
Andi Saw 1 year, 6 months ago
Comment was removed by admin
1 year, 6 months ago Edited
Sigrid Strohschneider-Laue Replied to Andi Saw 1 year, 6 months ago

A bunch of ideas but not the ultimative answer ...
A lot of this figurines have no (at least carved!) faces.

1 year, 6 months ago Edited
Victoria I. Strohschneider Replied to Sigrid Strohschneider-Laue 1 year, 6 months ago

The face is not important ... at least to men ... but the corporal proportions are (waist-hip-ratio) according to biology.stuck out tongue winking eye

1 year, 6 months ago Edited
Sigrid Strohschneider-Laue Replied to Victoria I. Strohschneider 1 year, 6 months ago

OmG, biology is catching up with me!

1 year, 6 months ago Edited
Sigrid Strohschneider-Laue Replied to Andi Saw 1 year, 5 months ago
1 year, 5 months ago Edited
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