The Venus of Hohle Fels
The earliest undisputed example of a Venus figurine was found at Hohle Fels, Germany. This particular sculpture dates to around 35,000 years ago, placing it firmly in the Aurignacian period, which predates the Gravettian period, where we see these types of representations of the female become increasingly common. This discovery was significant because other examples of art that pre-dates this 35,000 year-old finding depict only animals, hunting scenes, and related activities, but never women.
The (proposed) Venus Figurines of Berekhat Ram (left) and Tan-Tan (right)
The Venus of Willendorf, another well-known example of a Venus figurine
- d'Errico, F., Nowell, A. 2000. A New Look at the Berekhat Ram Figurine: Implications for the Origins of Symbolism. Cambridge Archaeological Journal. 10:123-167.
- Soffer, O., Adovasio, J.M., Hyland, D.C. 2000. The "Venus" Figurines - Textiles, Basketry, Gender, and Status in the Upper Paleolithic. Current Anthropology. 41:511-537.
- Wilford, J.N. Full-figured Statuette, 35,000 Years Old, Provides New Clues to how Art Evolved. New York Times. Pub. 13 May. 2009.
- Berekhat Ram: http://pleistoproject.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/venus20z20berekhat_ram20230t.jpg
- Tan-Tan: http://24.media.tumblr.com/y1q0RfLcE2lvkgqc6LqHhxId_400.jpg
- Willendorf: http://arthistoryresources.net/willendorf/images/willendorf-large.jpg
- Hohle: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/e/e6/Venus_vom_Hohlen_Fels_Original_frontal.jpg/220px-Venus_vom_Hohlen_Fels_Original_frontal.jpg