Venus Laussel

Venus Laussel
Venus Laussel

The Venus Laussel, better known as the Venus of the Horn or the Lady of the Body, is a primitive relief from the Paleolithic era that represents a female figure, it is carved in limestone type stone. It seems that the piece was originally part of a larger stela, a parallelepiped block almost 120 cm high in which this small relief that barely reaches 50 cm was embedded; According to the studies carried out, the large block of stone on which the Venus was carved would be the central piece of an altar. This would be arranged as a cella giving rise to a sanctuary surely related to the cult of fertility.


As in other cave representations the curvature of the stone has been used to give the figure a three-dimensional aspect; Thus, when observing the stone block where the Venus appears carved, the bulge of the stele coincides precisely with the belly of the represented figure.

The archaeological remains of Laussel –in the same area other pieces were found that would form part of this sanctuary– are located in the Beune Valley, in a mountain shelter near a tributary of the Vézère river. The inhabitants of this place must have lived in the Aurignac-Perigordian era, and Laussel must have been one of the places with the largest population due to the excellent position of the shelter that was sheltered at one end by a very high cliff.

LaVenus Laussel was found at the beginning of the 20th century, in 1909 by Dr. Lalanne. It is a female figure that is represented completely nude, like the rest of the Venuses of this same period found throughout Europe the figure presents the face without roughing, it has not even been outlined. In reality, the representation of female figures was not very common at this stage and when it was carried out, the figures were reduced to simple geometric shapes that alluded to female sexuality.

However, on this occasion the body of the Venus of Laussel appears well defined: she is a strong woman with large elongated breasts that hang down and her belly seems bulging, both elements have been used as a way to highlight the fertility of the figure. With her right arm raised, she holds a horn, a bison horn, while her other arm falls relaxedly in a gesture similar to that later observed in the modest Venuses of Greek statuary; Her fingers have barely been outlined and not much thought has been put into making her.

The horn is deeply carved in a high-quality high-relief that more closely resembles the round bulge; since ancient times the representation of the horn is deeply associated with fertility, in primitive African cultures the horn overflowing with blood is one of the greatest exponents of fertility and for many years it has become in allegory of natural abundance.

Popular topic