Female figure, c. 20,000 BCE



The William Hood Dunwoody Fundexpand_more  72.10

Not on Viewexpand_more

Small, portable prehistoric female figurines dating to the time period known as the Paleolithic Age have been found across Europe. This figure’s small size and lack of a base suggest that it was a ritual object and may have been regarded as possessing magical power. Given the importance of survival through reproduction and securing a food supply in the Paleolithic Age, this figure may have represented female fertility and the ability to bear children.

These figures were until recently referred to as “Venus” figures. The name has now been reconsidered by historians, reflecting the fact that such figures were created centuries before stories of the goddess Venus were presented in Roman mythology. These statuettes are now simply considered female figures.

Female figure
Accession Number
Curator Approved

This record has been reviewed by our curatorial staff but may be incomplete. These records are frequently revised and enhanced. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email collectionsdata@artsmia.org.

Does something look wrong with this image? Let us know

Zoom in on the left to the detail you'd like to save. Click 'Save detail' and wait until the image updates. Right click the image to 'save image as' or copy link, or click the image to open in a new tab.