Venus of Hohle Fels

iBrian

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Interesting to see how far back human art is being pushed back:
BBC NEWS | Science & Environment | German 'Venus' may be oldest yet

A grotesque carving in mammoth ivory is arguably the world's oldest depiction of a human figure, scientists say.
The distorted sculpture, which portrays a woman with huge breasts, big buttocks and exaggerated genitals, is thought to be at least 35,000 years old.
The 6cm-tall figurine, reported in the journal Nature, is the latest find to come from Hohle Fels Cave in Germany.
The Venus of Hohle Fels was found in six fragments in September 2008. It is still missing its left arm and shoulder, but researchers are hopeful these will emerge in future excavations of the cave's sediments.

Also interesting to see the typical focus on female fertility, a feature that has been strong right through the near ancient times - a sign of strong matriarchal beliefs, though?
 

juantoo3

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Interesting to see how far back human art is being pushed back:

I noticed the article mentioned the Tan-Tan Venus and Berekat-Ram Venus, and said that some claim dates over a hundred thousand years back (Homo Erectus) for these. I don't think they are quite that old by the sources I've read, but they are pretty ancient. I understand the Ostrich egg shell beads found in the Blombos Cave in South Africa to be the oldest, fairly agreed to be between 80-100 thousand years old. I think the distinction might be made between representational art like the Venuses, and decorative art like the beads.

But many sceptical researchers believe these items, although they may have been used by more ancient species, are really accidents of nature; they are objects that have been moulded into human form through chance geological processes.

From the article: It's pretty difficult to make a claim like this when looking at the Venus of Willendorf or the Lowenmensch. Some of the Venus figures do require a bit of imagination, but if I recall correctly there is evidence of tool marks on the ivory and not just an accidental process.

Also interesting to see the typical focus on female fertility, a feature that has been strong right through the near ancient times - a sign of strong matriarchal beliefs, though?

While I agree there seems to be an abundance of female figures, there are also phallic male figures both drawn and sculpted, so I think the gamut of recreational or generational beliefs are covered. Odds are pretty good that the typical cave dwelling tribal community was "matriarchal" in composition, but I don't think we should read into that any more than what that essentially implies. These were peoples who of necessity were very close to the rhythms of nature out of necessity, and one can make an equally strong argument that they were sky watchers familiar with the constellations and planets as they moved across the sky as the seasons progressed. I think both ways of being "in tune" were at play. Momma still served as the primary influence to every child, and Poppa still hunted and warred and let blood.

Thanks for this Brian.
 
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shawn

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Rather curious, is it not, that the oldest piece of art turns out to be a bit of porn...hmmm.
 

iBrian

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Apologies, yes - I should have made the distinction between art and depiction of human form. :)

Follows very similar features to later palaeolithic and neolithic pieces - all busom and buttocks with no real facial depiction.
 

juantoo3

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venus_wideweb__470x292,0.jpg


Hopefully these nice people won't mind me borrowing their image for study purposes.

Reference:

http://www.theage.com.au/news/enter...st-human-in-art/2009/05/14/1241894082181.html
 

juantoo3

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Follows very similar features to later palaeolithic and neolithic pieces - all busom and buttocks with no real facial depiction.

Yes, which to me is quite curious. At least by the time of Willendorf, the cave paintings of animals were very realistic, so the ability of human artists to make accurate renditions was there. But for some reason, and it seems pretty universal at this point, these talented artists chose deliberately to not accurately depict humans. Humans are either grossly exaggerated, like the Venuses, or they are stick figures. The Dead Man at Lascaux is a prime example.

The Fumane Sorceror is the lone enigma, but as the article pointed out, it is a vague guess that is what it represents at all. I am inclined to agree it is a depiction of a shaman, but there is a wide margin of uncertainty that goes with that interpretation.
 
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