Tuesday, November 15, 2016
The Venus of Brassempouy 6.3.1976
The Venus of Brassempouy (French: la Dame de Brassempouy, meaning "Lady of Brassempouy", or Dame à la Capuche, "Lady with the Hood") is a fragmentary ivory figurine from the Upper Palaeolithic. It was discovered in a cave at Brassempouy, France in 1892. About 25,000 years old, it is one of the earliest known realistic representations of a human face.
Brassempouy is a small village in the department of Landis in southwest France. Two caves near the village, 100 metres from each other, were among the firstPalaeolithic sites to be explored in France. They are known as the Galerie des Hyènes (Gallery of the Hyenas) and the Grotte du Pape (the "Pope's Cave"). The Venus of Brassempouy was discovered in the Pope's Cave in 1894, accompanied by at least eight other human figures. These may be an example of unfinished work, as if artist(s) carved several figurines at the same time.
The Venus of Brassempouy was carved from mammoth ivory. According to archaeologist Paul Bahn the head is "unsexed, although it is usually called a 'Venus' or a 'lady'". The head is 3.65 cm high, 2.2 cm deep and 1.9 cm wide. The face is triangular and seems tranquil. While forehead, nose and brows are carved in relief, the mouth is absent. A vertical crack on the right side of the face is linked to the internal structure of the ivory. On the head is a checkerboard-like pattern formed by two series of shallow incisions at right angles to each other; it has been interpreted as a wig, a hood with geometric decoration, or simply a representation of hair.Thank you Merja.