As discussed in the previous two posts, the Paleolithic Venuses are faceless, feetless and obese female figurines. Many of the current theories to explain these figurines do not explain all these features in a consistent manner.
For an example, if these are arts for the sake of art, why do some figurines show facial features while some others from the same period don’t? Why are almost all of these fugurines representing art from a feminine perspective? Why are there only ‘pregnant’ women self-representing the distorted vision of their own body image ? Why can’t they be just obese rather than pregnant? What is the association between pregnancy and red ochre?
Were the prehistoric people totally ignorant about the adverse impact of obesity on the fertility? Why these figurines show plumpness which gives the idea of youth? Does the lack of facial features hamper the effort of determining their maturity?
As discussed only the puberty rites hypothesis seems to explain the key features of the figurines. This writer is not familiar with any other hypothesis which would effortlessly explain the main features of the figurines. May be that the authour of the article “Paleolithic Venuses and Puberty Rites’ (Arachige 2010) didn’t provide all the proof required to prove the hypothesis. It is not rejected that a tighter argument with hundred odd references could have been written to make a water-tight hypothesis. However, do we need that kind of complexity when a simple model can logically explain a phenomenon with the help of a simple assumption of correspondence? Harding (1976), Halverson (1987) and McDermott (1996) all used various assumptions which relate modern times to the ancient history. Thus, would it be totally unscientific to make such an assumption to connect the 19th century practices to the prehistoric times? Thus, it has a strong case to believe that the faceless, feetless and obese venuses represent in some form the secluded girls at puberty who couldn’t touch the ground and were not allowed to see the sun. It is very interesting to refer to Ginzburg (1992) and consider the connection between the Artemis statue at Pallene and the ‘not to see the sun’ concept. In many cultures, people are sacred of ‘evil eye’. In many cultures, divinity is carried around without letting them walk. To make sure someone wouldn’t be seen by the dreaded eyes, what would be better than not letting those eyes out? To make sure someone would be always carried, what would be better than not having feet? These are the points the article about Paleolithic Venuses force us to ponder.
Arachige, D (2010) Prehistoric Venuses and Puberty Rites, http://www.thelureofnoma.com
Ginzburg, Carlo (1992) Ecstasies: Deciphering the witches’ Sabbath, London: Penguin Books
Halverson, J. 1987. Art for art’s sake in the Paleolithic, Current Anthropology 28: 63-89
Harding, J.R. 1976. Certain Upper Paleolithic Venus Statuettes considered in relation to the pathological condition known as Massive Hypertrophy of the Breasts, Man New Series 11(2) : 271-272
McDermott, LeRoy 1996. Self-Representation in Upper Paleolithic female figurines. CurrentAnthropology 37(2): 227-275.