PALEOLITHIC ART MAGAZINE

LIGURIA



THE DRESS IN THE "VENUS" OF LIGURIA, AUSTRIA AND MEXICO

Pietro Gaietto


The dress in the Mexican and European " Venus" is much scarce in how much it's a matter of representations of " nude ". The " feminine nude " has always excited the fantasy of the male, in fact it is present in the art of all the times, and today, more than ever, in photography through the media.

The first paleolithic feminine sculpturines discovered had the name of " Venus ", in how much were believed (exactly, in my opinion) that they corresponded to the feminine ideal of the time. Little years after, these sculpturines have been considered true and own " idols " of the cult of the fecundity, but the name " Venus " is remained.
Subsequently they have been other opinions, that have connected the " paleolithic Venus " to the origin of the Goddess Mother post - paleolithic.
The Goddess Mother nearly always is dressed; she is seated; some time she exhibits the breast; in other zones she is seated with the son died on the knees.
There is also who wanted make a wire directed between the representations of the Goddess Mother, and the representations of the Madonna seated with Christ died on her knees.
In my opinion, this concept of evolution in line direct in the representation of the woman, from the Paleolithic until the historical times, is too much simplistic, in how much, during this stretch it has been a continuous change in the religions, with local differentiations of every people, and if a people became more powerful than an other, imposed to him the own religion , therefore it has been a continuous transformation, various from territory to territory. The divinity has always had a practical function in spiritual field. The Goddess Mother seated, embracing the dead son (represents the young died warrior), joins to other divinities, between which that one of the " fecundity ", certainly previous.
The propitiatory function in the cult of the fecundity, is a component of the religions of every people, and always is represented in the art in various way near every people. For exemple, in Ancient Egypt the Goddess Thueris (that I have classified in art between the " humanized animals ") had head of hippopotamus and human vertical body with great belly, and was a popular divinity much venered from the pregnants, and also today she is considered from archeologists one of the divinities more ancient. The Goddess Thueris was not beautiful, and she did not have attributes of the feminine sex.

The Mexican "Venus" (Fig. 1, 2, 3) and the " European paleolithic Venus " (Fig. 4, 5, 6) has remarkables attributes of the feminine sex, than it can be assumed had more effectiveness in the erotic sphere, than not in that one of the fecundity for the pregnants. We do not forget that the man of the Upper Paleolithic that carved the feminine nude, was a Homo sapiens sapiens like we are, but this is worth also for Homo sapiens neanderthalensis.
The Australian Aboriginals were in a cultural stage similar to that one of the European Upper Paleolithic, and between the aboriginals that have become part in our civilization, studying, there are also those that buy pornographic reviews with feminine nude. We know that the Goddess Thueris was a popular divinity much loved from the pregnants, as written from the same Aegiptians; while for the propitiatory function of the fecundity of the " paleolithic Venus " not there are testimonies, therefore, we are still supposing. In the " European paleolithic Venus " the attribution (religious) that colleagues to the cult of the fecundity, however, is not in contrast with the erotic attribution, in how much these nudes could very well excite the fantasy of the male.
In the Christian churches, with baroque art, the paintings abound of nudes, also with strong sexiness, nevertheless they are all religious subjects .Addirittura, the nudes of Michelangelo of the Universal Judgment in the Cappella Sistina , in Vatican, Rome, Rome, had been veiled with draperies ad hoc, like obvious from the recent restoration.
Before analyzing the dress of the nude, we analyze the nude. The " European paleolithic Venus " (Fig. 4, 5, 6) have a strong erotism, as all the attributes of the sex are evidenced, and the woman is represented in the just age for the sexual activity, and this not disconnected from a " realistic " artistic style. The " Venus " of Tlatilco (Mexico) (Fig. 1, 2, 3) are nude, and the erotism is just a little pointed out; they seem nude of children. The style of representation of the body is not " realistic ", but it has a harmonious processing, in how much the body nude, does not correspond to the real one, like in the " European paleolithic Venus ", but it is invented. The " Venus " of Tlatilco, like the " European Venus ", do not have neither hands neither feet; but they have the open legs and a little of arms, what that has been possible to make with the ceramics, while the hard stone would have been difficult to made during Paleolithic.The " Venus" of Willendorf (Austria) (Fig. 6) being carved on tender stone represents the thinnest arms refolded on the chest. The " Venus " of Savignano and of the Balzi Rossi (Italy) do not have not even a sign of arms. The " Venus " of Tlatilco have the face complete of eyes, nose and mouth, but however it is not a face in realistic style, but it is an invented face, that is made in a style fashionable in that time.
In the " paleolithic Venus ", the only having the face (lateral profile) is the " Venus" of the Balzi Rossi (Fig. 4) (height cm.6), where mouth and eyes are not present, and would not have been possible make it given the smallest dimension of the sculpture. The " Venus of Savignano (Fig. 5) (height cm. 22) does not have the face. The " Venus" of Willendorf (Fig.6) (height cm. 11) does not have the face. The dress of all these " Venus ", European and Mexicans, is constituted from hats and hairs. The Mexicans " Venus " have the necklaces, while those Europeans do not have it, sure for technical reasons of representation, but in the Upper Paleolithic the necklaces existed already, in how much we have found them. The European "Venus" and those of Tlatilco, are not only joined for having all the possession of hats and hairs, but also from having of two similar types. We see the affinities between these two types of dress.The probably more ancient type is an hairdress to cone, than it is found in


Fig.4 "Venus" of Balzi Rossi(Ventimiglia, Italy)

"Venus" of Balzi Rossi (Fig. 4) and in the



Fig.5"Venus" of Savignano

"Venus" of Savignano (Fig. 5), in how much these two statuines are attributed to Homo sapiens neanderthalensis (both in the Middle Paleolithic, and in the Upper Paleolithic). This type of hairdress, also interpreted like a pointed hood, is present also in sculptures of heads without the body of the Middle Paleolithic of Liguria ( see other images in the Museum of the Origins of Man). The composition in the representation is always work of Homo sapiens neanderthalensis(see again about these topics the Museum of the Origins of Man). The hairdress stylized as cone is present in the " Venus " of Tlatilco (Fig. 1), (height cm. 6)

Fig. 1 Drawing of ceramics statuine

,and also in the two-faced "Venus" of Tlatilco (Fig. 3) (height cm. 11).

Fig.3 Drawing of ceramics statuine

I must evidence that these hairs are more realistic than the faces, that is, while the faces " are invented ", as they could have been made in one hundred various styles, the hairdress is realized in realistic way, that is imitative. The faces do not want to be a true portrait, while the hairdresses imitate the real scrupulously, for how much the working of miodeling of the ceramics can allow on statuines of few centimeters. Mine can seem an excess of analysis , but we must consider that face and hairdress are two distinguished representations. In the European Upper Paleolithic there was an obvious distinction, in how much the face was not represented, and was only represented the hairdress. Consequently, this type of dress was more important of the face ( it is necessary to see in the site of the Museum of Anthropology of City of Mexico, or in other sites, the statuine of Tlatilco, in how much the designs are insufficient in evidencing the differences of representattion between the faces and the hairs). I remember that the statuines of Tlatilco go back to 1.100 - 500 B. C. The second type of hairdress can be found in " Venus " two-faced of Tlatilco (Fig. 2) (Fig. 2)

Fig.2 Drawing of ceramics statuine

and in the


Fig.6 "Venus" of Willendorf

"Venus" of Willendorf (Fig. 6).This type of hairdress follows the shape of the skullcap, and it is not pointed, that is as cone. In the Upper Paleolitico the two types of hairdress were present at the same time to the Balzi Rossi, even if probably they have two different origins, and therefore, two different traditions. The haidress as cone is found in " Venus " (Fig. 4) and that one without cone in the two-faced head (Fig. 7).

Fig.7 two-faced head of Balzi Rossi
Homo Sapiens Neanderthalensis - Homo sapiens Sapiens

The sculpture (Fig. 7) (height cm.4) is conserved in the Museum of the Antiquities of Saint - Germain - en - Laye, (Paris). It is considered a" little head of negroid ". (Old denomination that derives from burials of Homo sapiens sapiens, found at Balzi Rossi, when these were considered " negroids "). My interpretation of this small sculpture, instead, is that it is two-faced, and in the head of left represents a female of Homo sapiens neanderthalensis, while to right a head of Homo sapiens sapiens, but that this is male or female, I cannot assert it. The head of the neandertalian woman has a hairdress to the " nubian ", found also in " Venus " of Brassempouy, while the head together of Homo sapiens sapiens, is not clear what type of hairdress has, however, seems, has luxuriant hair on the forehead.
The hairdos without cone, however, are of two types: to the " nubian ", that could also be a net on hairs, and the hairdo of " Venus" of Willendorf, that could be a hat, partial or total of shells pierced.
To confirm this supposition it is a cap of shells on the head of the " Young prince " of the Arene Candide(Finale Ligure, Italy) whose poor rests are conserved in the Archaeological Museum of Genova. Finally, it is not impossible that they were simply combed hairs, even if combs, in that phase of the Paleolithic, not are know.
The two-faced " Venus " of Tlatilco (Fig.2) is distinguished from the others two here published (Fig. 1 and 3) for having a hairdress without cone here, and, in this case, it is imaginable that the comb was already of common use. I conclude without to conclude, in how much the lines of the evolution do not have neither an origin, neither a end. What counts, for us, is the runs of the evolution, on finds unknown.

To the Index

HOME PAGE

Copyrightę2000-2002 by Paleolithic Art Magazine, all rights reserved