Prehistoric SculpturePresented by: Bruce Black Art.com
The Venus of WillendorfAfter a wide variety of proposed dates, followinga revised analysis of the stratigraphy of its site in1990, the figure has been estimated to havebeen carved 24,000–22,000 BCE. Very little isknown about its origin, method of creation, orcultural significance. The Venus of Willendorf wasrecovered in a site that also contained a fewamulets of Moldavite.Venus of WillendorfThe purpose of the carving is the subject of muchspeculation. It never had feet and does not standon its own. The apparent large size of the breastsand abdomen, have led scholars to interpret thefigure as a fertility symbol. The figure has novisible face, her head being covered with circularhorizontal bands of what might be rows ofplaited hair, or a type of headdress. She wasthought to be very healthy given her weight andsize.
Venus of Brassempouy - Mammoth IvoryIt was discovered in a cave at Brassempouy, France in 1892.About 25,000 years old, it is one of the earliest known realisticrepresentations of a human face and Hairstyle.
The “Lion Man” from Hohlenstein-StadelHeigth 28 cm, about 6 cm diameter.Made of mammouth ivoryFound in the cave of Hohlenstein-Stadelin the Valley of Lone,Baden-Württemberg (Germany).Dated as Aurignacien, about 30,000 yearsago
Madgdalenian horse head carved in bone - one of the most beautiful examples ofprehistoric carving. Found in a cave excavation, its date is fixed to about 12000 BC.The structure of the bone did not allow for carving in the round, and the reverse sideis flat.
Polar Bear Figure, Arctic and Subarctic, ca. A.D. 100–600. Prehistoric Eskimo(Ipuitak) Ivory. H: 1 3/4 in. L: 4 1/2 in. W: 1 in. Thaw Collection, Fenimore ArtMuseum, Cooperstown, N.Y. Photo: John Bigelow Taylor.
ceramic figures known as dogu –they are mysterious masterpiecesproduced in great numbers inprehistoric Japan. Dogu are fromthe earliest-dated tradition ofpottery manufacture in the world,dating to the prehistoric Jomonperiod, which began 16,000 yearsago.
Dogū Pottery - small humanoid and animal figurines made during the late JomonPeriod (14,000 –400 BCE) of prehistoric Japan.
Olmec Art (1200 BCE through 400 BCE)The first signs of complex society in Mesoamerica were theOlmecs an ancient Pre-Columbian civilization living in thetropical lowlands of south-central Mexico, in what areroughly the modern-day states of Veracruz and Tabasco.Olmec artforms emphasize both monumental statuary andsmall jade carvings and jewelry. Much Olmec art is highlystylized and uses an iconography reflective of the religiousmeaning of the artworks. Some Olmec art, however, issurprisingly naturalistic, displaying an accuracy of depictionof human anatomy perhaps equaled in the Pre-ColumbianNew World only by the best Maya Classic era art.
In addition to human subjects, Olmec artisans were adept at animalportrayals, for example, the ceramic ancient Olmec "Bird Vessel", and "FishVessel" dating to circa 1000 BC. Ceramics are produced in kilns capable ofexceeding approximately 900° C. The only other prehistoric culture known tohave achieved such high temperatures is that of Ancient Egypt.
Colossal Heads While Olmec figurines are found abundantly in sitesthroughout the Formative Period, it is the stone monuments such as thecolossal heads that are the most recognizable feature of Olmec culture.These monuments can be divided into four classes: This head dates from 1200 to 900 BCE and is 2.9 meters high and 2.1 meters wide.
Zuni Fetish: American Indians have used fetishes throughout recordedhistory, especially the Indians of the Southwest. A fetish is an object which isbelieved to have magic power. Fetishes may be of any form or material, butthey all have one purpose - to assist man against any real or potentialproblems. The problems can be those of the mind, body or universe.