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The Venus of Willendorf

A civilization, as the term is used by modern scholars, is a culture that possesses the ability to organize itself thoroughly. It is a social, economic, and political entity, distinguished by its ability to express itself well, not only through images but through written language, which is in many ways the means by which people are best able to organize themselves. Using this definition, consider the sculpture 'Venus of Willendorf' from the Paleolithic era and discuss how it reflects a particular culture's belief system and social structure. In your analysis, try to connect it to some universal themes of origin mythology, the material world, the spiritual world, and/or the sustainability of the earth.


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The Venus statue actually predates the Venus myth by about one thousand years. The statue is of a woman and the prominence of women and their place as mothers is apparent by the female details of the breasts and stomach area. The importance also might explain the lack of face, but instead the head is covered in an intricate braid or headdress. However, the statue has no feet. If one considers this, it might mean that they were not expected to stand on their own. This might indicate a male dominance, where the woman needed someone to support her.

Another interesting feature is the detail in the genital area. This brings to mind a couple of ...

Solution Summary

The ancient artifact 'Venus of Willendorf' is discussed, in particular, what it says and reflects about the culture that produced it - the belief system and social structure. Universal themes of sustainability, the material world and the divine is included in the discussion.