Sunday, February 18, 2007

gingerbread venus

a friend of a friend's mother made these gingerbread Venus of Willendorf cookies.

from Wikipedia:
Venus of Willendorf, also known as the Woman of Willendorf, is an 11.1 cm (4 3/8 inches) high statuette of a female figure, discovered at a paleolithic site near Willendorf, Austria, in 1908 by archaeologist Josef Szombathy. It is carved from an oolitic limestone that is not local to the area, and tinted with red ochre.

As of 1990, upon a revised analysis of the stratigraphy of its site, it was estimated to have been carved between 22,000 - 24,000 BCE. Very little is known about its origin, method of creation, or cultural significance.

...The Venus is not a realistic portrait but rather an idealization of the female figure. Her vulva, breasts, and swollen belly are very pronounced, suggesting a strong connection to fertility. Her tiny arms are folded over her breasts, and she has no visible face, her head being covered with what might be coils of braids, eyes, or a kind of headdress. The lack of a face has prompted some archaeologists and philosophers to view the Venus as a "universal mother..."

The nickname, urging a comparison of this rather obese figurine to the classical image of "Venus", causes resistance in some modern analysis. "The ironic identification of these figurines as 'Venus' pleasantly satisfied certain assumptions at the time about the primitive, about women, and about taste," Christopher Witcombe has noticed. At the same time there is professional reluctance to identify her as an Earth Mother goddess of paleolithic Old Europe. Some suggest that her corpulence would represent high status in a hunter-gatherer society, and that beside her obvious fertility she could be an emblem of security and success.

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