Is calling Paleolithic Venuses pornography justifiable?

In a recent personal communication, Dr James Harrod ( www.originsnet.org) mentioned me about his dismay at some parties describing Hohle Fels figurine discovered by Prof. Conrad as the world’s oldest ‘pornography’ . In my mind, his opinion on this is very justifiable and prompted me to write about this past event.  It was the time when one preeminent archaeologist labelled people from the period associated with the Hohle Fels figurine as ‘sex-mad’. After the publication of the relevant articles, many critics made their displeasure about the “pornography” opinion known.  I wonder how often we in the modern age attempt to look at the prehistoric cultures from our point of view and how often we refuse the fact that we do so. On the other hand, it may be an exercise of publicity-seeking in the name of science.  We don’t exactly know. Regardless of the reason, these viewpoints might cloud the interpretation of ‘true’ nature of these figurines.

Looking at these figurines either with a male-chauvinistic viewpoint or a feminist opinion may not lead us towards what these prehistoric people wanted to tell their fellow travellers by creating such beautiful images. You may add looking at them from a religion point of view may not help either. I guess, in plain language not wrapped in technical sophistication, what is needed to do is to look at our ancestors with objectivity and the respect that they deserve. Whatever they did might be as logical as what we do today when  we take their environment into account. Do we call Botticelli’s Venus pornography? Now we turn our attention to the prehistory and the way the people might have lived. Do we assume that they wore as much clothes or had the same ideas about modesty as the Florentine women in Early Renaissance did? Most likely we don’t.  Now who do we think had a more sensual mindset when creating these images?

I don’t believe that the Venus figurines are pornographic.  Even if they were pornographic, do we think that these women represented by the prehistoric images can make their way to the covers of today’s male magazines? As far as I can see, they wouldn’t.  I don’t have any research to prove my point.  However, if they don’t, the pornography of today and the Paleolithic period are definitely not the same or the images are not meant to be pornographic.

( I am very thankful to Dr Harrod for his kind gesture of providing some useful references and  opinions on some related topics.)

On this day 1st of Jan 2011, I wish all of you ‘ A Very Happy & Prosperous 2011’!!!

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The website aims to show the possible origin of religion through a ‘uniquely’ human process which has links to the seclusion of girls at puberty. It also advocates the view that the Paleolithic Venus figurines are related to these puberty rites and hence, the prehistoric Venus figurines may carry a much larger meaning. Thus, Religion is something more than a throwback from our animal past.

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