“Paleolithic Venus” and “hottentot Venus”


“Venus Paleolithic” is a generic way of referring as a whole to 250 feminine figures of small size, elaborated in ivory, stone or terracotta; found in many Western Europe’s regions and up to eastern Siberia and dated in the upper Paleolithic (35.000-9.000 years b. C.). Also called “Venus steatopygia” (steato means fat and pygos is allusive to the hips and buttocks in Greek), some have their own identity and are the most famous, as “Venus of Lespugne”, of Willendorf, of Laussel, of Savignano, of  Kostienki,  of Dolni – Vestonice and the “Venus of Grimaldi”; on which there is much literature. All figures exhibit exaggerated volumes located in a belt pelvic which is attributed to specific functions related to sex and yet a large abdomen that some researchers may be interpreted as one pregnancy. It gives them the representation of a mother goddess.

 This bulge of breasts, hips, buttocks, belly and especially of the external genitalia, has also been observed in vivo in the bodies of women “San” (Bushmen) and “Khoi” (were called “Hottentots” by the Dutchmen as a pejorative term), animist indigenous peoples who lived 20,000 years ago on the land of south African cone and that until the mid-nineteenth century occupied Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana and South Africa. The “Khoi” preserved Neolithic ways of life and the “San” had a Mesolithic cultural level. The few that remain are on the brink of extinction, reduced to the Kalahari Desert in Botswana.

 An anatomical peculiarity of women “Khoi” and “San” is its steatopygia strong, ie the accumulation of fat in the pelvic area and buttocks, that associated with the swelling of the external genitalia (gynoid adiposity), reaches an important ethnic and aesthetic value with sexually suggestive effects in men of the tribe.

 In the nineteenth century, Saartjie Baartman became the most famous women “Khoi” in Europe. It was exhibited in circuses and museums under the stage name of “Hottentot Venus”, their anatomy was studied by comparison with the great apes, degrading his condition until he died in 1818 and even to the extent of exhibiting his skeleton and hypertrophied genitals until the mid 1970s. In 2002, France gave his remains to the “Khoi” by the South African government management.

 This situation makes it very clear that the figurines were not idols, symbols of deity, made from hallucinations or imagination of the Paleolithic artists; were representations of real prehistoric observations that have transcended time in the bodies of women “Khoi” and probably in other ethnic extinct in Africa and Oceania.

 It is very important to have evidence to understanding how the visual stereotypes of libido stimulants have been preserved in time. Dimensional variants that the cultures history has taught us, regardless of ethnic, fluctuations are temporary or casual suggested or imposed by the worldview of each community or for fashion. The basic spatial forms and the overall structural conformation have not changed and are likely to be evolutionarily conserved.

 With this certainty, we can interpret the “Venus Paleolithic steatopygia” prehistoric objects of sympathetic magic mimetic; used to enliven sexuality as an indulgence in luxury. These figures inferred indirectly in reproduction, situation that must be deducted gradually by the “thinkers” Paleolithic.

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