Sunday, August 15, 2010

Venus of Lespugue, tusk ivory carving

PD Photo: Replica of the Venus of Lespugue, carved from tusk ivory (Gravettian/ Upper Paleolithic) located at Museé des Antiquités Nationales, Paris, France.

The age of Venus of Lespugue, now residing in France at the Museé des Antiquités Nationales, Paris, is estimated between 24,000 and 26,000 years. This Venus figurine, a statuette of a nude female figure of the Gravettian (named after the site of La Gravette in the Dordogne region of France), was discovered In 1922 by René de Saint-Périer (1877-1950) in the Rideaux cave of Lespugue (Haute-Garonne) in the foothills of the Pyrenees, a range of mountains in southwest Europe that form a natural border between France and Spain.

Venus of Lespugue, one among hundreds of Venus figurines of the Gravettian cultural stage discovered across central Europe (and into Russia), is linked to similar figurines and carvings. 147 mm (approximately 6 inches) tall, the Lespugue Venus is carved from tusk ivory, which was damaged during excavation, and restored later.

Of all Venus figurines discovered from the upper Paleolithic, the Venus of Lespugue defies logic that it is about 25000 years old, as it looks like any sculpture or art piece of the twentieth century. This Venus is well-attributed with the most exaggerated female secondary sexual characteristics, especially the extremely large pendulous breasts. The rest of the figure too complements well the beauty of Venus.

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