Nude woman, formally known as the Venus of Willendorf is a sculpture of a female figure. It’s only 11. 1cm tall and was made from a special oolitic limestone that isn’t commonly found in the Paleolithic archeological sites of Willendorf, Austria. Similar figurines have been collected from these sites. Archaeologists’ believe that it was created between 26000 and 20000 BCE and belongs to the Gravettian culture. It was first discovered in 1908 by archaeologist Josef Szombathy, after which many similar figurines were discovered which are collectively known as the Venus figurines.
(Kohen, 1946) The Venus of Willendorf can be taken as a realistic representation of an overweight woman or a perhaps a pregnant one. The figurine shows a very fat belly and buttocks. Her vulva is also clearly pronounced and shows no public hair. Her breasts are also shown to be exaggerated but don’t show any nipples. She has no visible face and her tiny forearms are folded on the upper parts of her breasts. She seems to have braided hair, or might be wearing a headdress of some sort. She seems to suggest to be looking down and doesn’t have any feet. (Kohen, 1946)
If we take a closer look at the features that are defined in the sculpture, we’ll find that she is a fertility idol. Her pronounced breasts and vulva are clear indication of the fertility. Furthermore, her huge belly (possibly due to pregnancy) also suggests a strong connection to fertility. There has been some confusion regarding her not having any feet. I believe that she was made to be held in the hand. If look at the image, we will see that the hands clearly rest on the best of Venus, making it a perhaps sensuous object of that time. Reference Kohen, M. (1946). The Venus of Willendorf. Am. Imago, 3:49-60.