Have you ever realised that pottery is one of the oldest human inventions?
It is originating back to the Upper-Palaeolithic/Neolithic Period with the discovery of the earliest surviving clay figurine, Venus of Dolní Věstonice (left photo), found in what's currently Czech's region of Moravia and dating back to 29000-25000BC. The second oldest Venus (pardon the expression) is Venus of Lespugue (right image), a French lady, dating back to 26000-24000BC.
The actual pottery vessel making adventure started only around 10000 years later in China. But in this post we'd like to concentrate on the Venuses, the true ....... of the art of clay, also the earliest known works of figurative art in general.
Over 200 figurines were discovered up to date across Eurasia. The most astonishing is the fact that, although sometimes separated by thousands of years and miles, these sculptures bare the same general features and the similarity is extraordinary.
All of the figurines portray women with curvaceous bodies and usually tapered at the top and bottom. The heads are often of relatively small size and devoid of detail, and most are missing hands and feet.
There have been many different interpretations of the figurines, but none based on any kind of solid evidence.
Some theories are fascinating and I will allow myself to start with my most favourite one that states that the sculptures were made by early female artists looking down and portraying their own bodies (often while being pregnant) with what's called the lozenge perspective which distorts the actual proportions of the body.
Amongst other theories, meaning and function of Venus figurines ranges from fertility symbols, religious icons, dolls or even early pornographic imagery. Finally, there is a suggestion that Venus figurines imply the existence of matriarchal culture worshipping women as goddesses.
The full article is available HERE.
As we are approaching 8th March, The International Women's Day, we would like to celebrate and embrace the femininity in all its versatile and beautiful forms.
We will be inviting you all (not only women) to join us for a series of pottery classes where we'll make and decorate our own Venus figurines.
TWO Venus project Classes available to book: