PALEOLITHIC ART MAGAZINE

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THE ANCIENT TWO-FACED " VENUS" OF MEXICO IN RELATION TO THE TWO-FACED PALEOLITHIC "VENUS" OF THE BALZI ROSSI

Pietro Gaietto


In Mexico, at Tlatilco, they have been found a great number of the feminine statuine in ceramics, that I consider " venus". They have been dated from the 1,100 to the 500 B. C.(they are conserved in the National Museum of Anthropology of Mexico City).
These " venus " are nude, without hands, without feet, all with a hat or a hairdo; they have the spread legs, and they do not have a basement in order to be in vertical position. The greater part of these " venus " has a single head, others are two-faced, that is composed from a head with two faces (Fig 1)

Fig 1 Sculpture in ceramics


and from two heads on an only body (Fig2)

Fig 2 Sculpture in ceramics



I remember that the bicephalous statuine re-enter in the bifrontism. These two-faced "venus " in Mexico are interpreted like " symbol of a double fruit or the principle of the duality, that represents one of the roots of the mesoamericanan religious philosophy, which comes attributed propiziatory character ". To me," propiziatory character " had it also the " venus " with a single head, otherwise is not understood why they made them! If not, it is thinkable that those two-faced ones have had a " greater propiziatory character ".
Their dimensions are from 6 to 13 cm. of height, but the average is 10 cm. These statuines are most ancient of the Centeramerica, and is who thinks has been produced in " a social status of supremacy of the woman (matriarchy?) ", and that they are " carrying fertility of the species ".
These " venus " in ceramics can be considered sculptures.
The amount of these ceramics indicates a cult with deep root in the people, and therefore with roots very more ancient than when they have been made, and these roots I have found in the Paleolithic, in Italy, at Balzi Rossi.

The great distances, in the Paleolithic, in order to make parallelisms on the evolution of the art and the religions, are made on the known finds, having a geographic positioning; but the origin of these finds can be an other zone of which they do not have finds, and also at great distances, in how much the periods considered embrace millenia and, as we know, the man has always migred in every direction.

The Balzi Rossi are constituted from a whole of littles caves and shelters under rock on the sea, are in Liguria at the border with France. The man has left here important traces in the Paleolithic.
The sculptures that we consider have been found in these caves towards the end of the 800s from Louis Alexandre Jullien. Their cultural attribution is the Upper Paleolithic, while the dating is between the 28,000 and 22,000 years ago.
One of these sculptures (Fig 3)

Fig 3 and Fig 4 Sculptures in greenyellow serpentine

represents a "venus" with two heads, it has been called , "The two-headed Lady"; height 27.5 millimeters. It is lacking in feet and arms. At right they are the feminine attributes of the sex.It is peirced between the two heads, watching in opposite direction (In the drawings Fig.3 and Fig.4 the features are indicative, in how much they do not exist in the two sculptures).
The other sculpture (Fig.4) represents, joined for the nape and the feet, a " venus " and a " humanized animal ", that is head of animal and human vertical body. Height 47 millimeters.The " venus " on the left has the attributes of the feminine sex. The two joined figures are lacking in feet and arms, and have two peircings, one behind the nape, and an other behind the back.
These two sculptures, with the exception of all the " venus" found in Europe, are the only two-faced ones, and have been found jointly to a smallest " mask of feline perceid of 23 millimeters. of width.
These three sculturines are in serpentine yellow gren, stranger for the zone. It is probable that these three sculturines, found at Balzi Rossi, comes from " a lot " far away . in how much the bifrontism in the " European venus " (and there are many) is not present; there are not sculptures of " peirced venus" in the European Paleolithic and, finally, the type of stone stranger to the zone induces to doubt.
The characteristics of the two " venus " and of the mask have many characteristics in common with the wood sculpture of equatorial Africa. Sure, who worked the wood, did not work the stone, but the man always has been able to make all, in every direction. Independently from the doubts on the origin of the two two-faced sculptures (Fig.3 and Fig.4) , we must observ that they join two different cults (true or presumed): 1░) the feminine nude generally is considered connected to the cult of the fecundity, and 2░) the bifrontism, generally, is characterization of a God.

The parallelism between the " venus " in stone of the Balzi Rossi, and the " venus " in ceramics of Tlatilco, must make us meditating about the cultural evolution of the people, and particularly about the complex net of religions, for which the man produced art.



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