By Judi Mohn Griggs
The Vestonicka Venuse , and a few other items found around her in 1925, are the oldest known ceramic articles in the world. She is 14,000 years older than than any fired jars and pots.
She doesn't get out much these days, but looks pretty good for 26,000. She's 4.5 inches tall and was broken in two when she was found -- but her very existence challenged and changed assumptions.
Although an American antiquities expert put her value at around $40 million -- we believe she's priceless. As far as we kno , she has never been the symbol of an actual deity or person -- but her journey from a paleolithic pit of fire ash to the Artisan Czech Glass beads produced in a mom and pop shop in Jablonec to you is full of connection and discovery.
Fertility, fireworks and fallacies
Fertility is only one aspect of feminity -- and a particularly fickle and fleeting one at that. Don't be too quick to assume her exaggerated features are about fecundity. In his NPR podcast John Lienhard notes that Upper Paleolithic hunters and gatherers "limited their populations, they didn't try to expand them." No, he explains, she is about art.
"These ceramics probably had no practical purpose. They certainly weren't made to last. What we're seeing is art for the moment. It is the strong expression of a few people who developed a technology for showing us what was in their minds." Lienhard said.
A famous Czech artist immortalized the creation of the Venuse -- getting only the clothing of the time and the gender of the artist wrong.
In their book "The Invisible Sex: Uncovering the True Roles of Women in Prehistory" the writers offer an explosive theory about our girl. Her two segments were discovered less than a foot apart, but further excavation at the site by archeologists in the 1950s found fragments representing 707 animal and 14 human figures — with some 2,000 smaller pellets.
Either the early “ceramicist(s) were extremely incompetent” or perhaps they were crafting the work to explode. The authors suggest the wetness in the rudimentary clay could have been deliberately adjusted so that the pieces would "harden in the flames and explode.” They point to the three sides built up on the kiln discovered in support of their theory that she way well be “not only the first ceramics ever known, but also the first example of a kind of fireworks.”
And about that famous painting of the making of our Girl by the late Czech illustrator Zdenek Burian -- the same authors note that not only is the clothing depicted more Flintstone than Stone Age , but the actual creator of our Girl , for many reasons, was likely a woman.
A child's fingerprint
The humanity of the Venuse -- an ancient item which may have been made to explode and whose craft died for thousands of years with those who created it -- may be best preserved in a child's fingerprint noted on her back and examined by tomography in this century to determine it is that of a child.
No one suggests a child made the piece, but Paleolithic or Millennial -- any mother can relate to the way small hands find their way into her work.
Different from the other girls
Images of women were carved in bone and stone before our Girl and the younger Venus of Willendorf found in Austria certainly got more PR -- but another thing we love about our Venuse is that unlike most of the others -- her face is not covered and she even has simple marks for her eyes.
Loving her lines
Experts suggest that the lines on her back represent the richness of fat and her booty proportion is quite Kardashian.
We don't love her because she's tiny, old, cracked, bottom-heavy and her saggy left beast is bigger than the right one. We love her because she's solid evidence of how little those things matter.
Thanks to our customers - this gifted goddess keeps on giving.
Gift your goddess and build the Goddess Gift.
Copyright 2017 Judi Mohn Griggs