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!