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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Goddesses and Venus Figures an Update

Here is a great site with history of these oldest of dolls or human figures: titled Ancient Wisdom. Here, also, is information of the oldest ceramic figure, which makes one think. Ceramics were not used for figurines in the West until the 17th c; these were decorative objects, and many theorize the head molds, at least, for these figurines, were later used for china head dolls. Yet, this is a 25,000 year old figure which is ceramic, clay, perhaps glazed. Pottery fragments and figures are found in The Americas and in the Orient long before the 17th c., but it wasn't unitl the 1840s or thereabouts, according to John Noble and others, that china/ceramics were used for china heads. There were the 13th-14th c. Nuremburg clay dolls with an imprint for a baptismal coin before then. Something to ponder, what happened between the 25,000 year old figure and the 15th, 17th, centuries?
"Extract - 'Archaeologically they are known from the earliest horizons of the Aurignacian and extend to the end of the Magdalenian. Venus figurines have been found in Britain, France, Italy, Spain, Austria, Germany, Czechoslovakia, the Ukraine, and as far east as Lake Baikal... In appearance most are plump little creatures with exaggerated female characteristics: large breasts, thighs and buttocks. Many are carved from mammoth tusks, but one of the best known is made of limestone and generally known as the Venus of Willendorf' (1)" "Dolni Věstonice: (Gravettian Site) The site is unique in that it has been a particularly abundant source of prehistoric artefacts (especially art) dating from roughly 28,000 to 24,000 B.C (4). In addition to functional tools, the artefacts found at Dolni Věstonice include carved representations of animals, men, women, personal ornaments, enigmatic engravings. The remains of two dwellings were unearthed: an oval one (15 x 9m), with five hearths, and a round one (6m in diameter) with one hearth in the centre in which clay figurines were fired. The remains of two kilns have been uncovered and more than 700 figurines-nearly all depicting Ice Age animals (1) such as lions, rhinos, and mammoths-were fired in the oval earthen kilns of Dolni Vestonice. At nearby sites of similar age, thousands more terracotta figurines and clay pellets have been excavated. Almost all the Vestonice figurines exhibit breaks and cracks-the shattering shock of the flames that baked them. One hypothesis is that these figurines had magical significance, and were intentionally fashioned from wet clay so that they would explode when fired. The clay would have been mixed either with ash from certain plants or a different equivalent The ceramic figurines and fragments recovered from Dolni Vestonice have been identified as representing the earliest known ceramic technology (Vandiver et al., 1989). The Moravian site “cluster” has yielded more than 10,000 ceramic fragments. The figurines recovered from Dolni Vestonice have been dated to 26,000 BP, while the world’s earliest known pottery vessels until this time appear 14,000 years later. (3) The early origin of ceramic technology at Dolni Vestonice suggests that the local population were familiar with their surroundings and have demonstrated an ability to manipulate and control their environment. If the ceramics were being produced simply to be shattered via thermal shock, it can be concluded that the process of making the objects was more important than the final product (4). . The Venus of Dolní Věstonice.
The Venus of Dolní Věstonice is one of the earliest examples of fired clay sculptures in the world (c. 28,000–24,000 BC (4)). It has four holes in the head, the function of which is unknown. A Tomograph scan in 2004 found a fingerprint of a child estimated at between 7 and 15 years of age (1) (More about Venus Figurines)"

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