Art Europe Prehistoric

Prehistoric Goddess Figures

They had large hips, pendulous breasts and by today’s standards would be considered – obese?  They are still being discovered today.  Some date as far back as 40,000 BCE, some as young as 6,000 BCE.  

Found throughout Eurasia with most from Europe, the original meaning of these female figurines is not known, though it is frequently suggested they may have served a ritual or symbolic function.  The statues are among the earliest examples of figurative art.

Archaeologists call them goddess figures, fertility talisman, revered mothers.  Better known examples are depicted on stamps.  From the Goddess of Willendorf; dated to 24,000 years old, this well-endowed upper paleolithic statue was found in Austria and depicted on a 3D stamp in 2008.

Another well-known figure is from Catal Huyuk, a Neolithic archaeological site in Turkey.  Seated, she is believed to date from 7,500 BCE and was found in the late 1950s- early 1960s.  Another was found in 2016 but has not been depicted on a stamp . . . yet.

The Lady of the Waters is from Malta and is also seated.  Though not as well know as the others mentioned here, there has been a book written about her in 1992, The Goddess of Malta.  Dating from 5,800-2,500 BCE, the figure was found in Skorba Temple Complex.

These female figurines dating from the Upper Paleolithic are called “Venus Figurines” in reference to Venue, the Roman goddess of beauty.  This came abut because early 20th century prehistorians assumed the figures represented the ancient ideal of beauty and/or fertility.