The Venus of Frasassi, Venere di Frasassi
Carved from a piece of stalactite. Upper Paleolithic, between 28 thousand and 20 thousand years ago. Dimensions: 87 mm high, weighing about 66 grams. Its color is pearl white.
(The face is barely shown. Breasts are large, and placed high on the chest. A navel is shown on the full abdomen, and the vulva is clearly shown in relief. Legs taper to about below the level of the knees, which are not shown, when they are broken off or were never carved.
Most unusually, the forearms extend well in front of the body, as though they were used to hold something. It is difficult to be sure from the photo, but it seemed to me that the head had been carved in two portions, with a groove between the front and back. I believe now that this is an illusion, the figurine must have been standing in front a mirror, see the image below - Don )
Source: On display at the Archaeological Museum of Ancona, Museo Archeologico di Ancona.
Grotte di Frasassi are a remarkable karst cave system in the municipality of Genga, Italy, in the province of Ancona, Marche.
They are among the most famous show caves in Italy. The formation on the left is known as the organ pipes. The caves, discovered by a group of Ancona speleologists between 1948 and 1971. Rich in water, the cave system is particularly well endowed with stalactites and stalagmites.
Photos : Kessiye, 12 September 2006
Permission: Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic Licence.
The Venus of Tolentino.
This piece was also on display with the Venere di Frasassi at the Museo Archeologico Nazionale Delle Marche di Ancona, in the exhibition from November 27, 2009 to March 30, 2010. This is a figure carved with a chisel on thin chert, height about 13 cm. The drawing depicts a woman with zoomorphic features. It has legs, breasts, and a geometric vulva, but the body is surmounted by a cow's head (or a herbivorous animal, bovid or equid).
It was so called because it was found in a clay pit east of Toledo, in 1883, and then donated to the Museum by Count Gentiloni Silverj Aristide, who immediately realised what an extraordinary exhibit of his hand.
The Venus de Tolentino has been dated to a period between 5000 and 12000 years ago, between the Pleistocene and Neolithic, when agriculture developed in Europe. The stone on which the Venus is carved was probably used as a tool striker, or crush seeds. Both ends are chipped from use.