Thursday, March 3, 2011

Neolithic women sculptors

I will cut and paste some of Jayne Shatz' theories regarding the neolithic cultures.  Enjoy going back in time to when women sculpted in clay, and female figures were carved in stone and bone.  We really don't know why...but obviously they were important enough to be everywhere!

Vestonice, Venus Figurine
       27,000 BPE, 9 " h

Jayne Shatz writes: "... during ancient times it was women who worked the clay. Our story begins during the prehistoric Ice Age around 27,000 BPE, (Before the Present Era) in a small section of land in what is now known as Czechoslovakia. In this frozen tundra there existed a green oasis, void of ice. A clan lived there "...that produced kiln fired ceramic sculptures that we now call the Venus Figurines. Her kiln had an underground flue that was fueled by bones; this firing technique created the rich black carbon surface on the beautiful six-inch forms. To imagine a woman firing a kiln almost thirty thousand years ago is a phenomenal concept to grasp!

"Women have always been capable of producing high quality ceramic work; many cultures existed where women solely produced elegantly coiled pottery while men took care of the homestead. The North and South American Indians and the Neolithic Middle Eastern cultures provide much evidence to this distinction of roles. In these societies, women were the pot makers, creating utensils for the home life. Their job was essential to the sustenance of their families, clans and homesteads. Pottery was used for eating, cooking and the storing of foodstuffs. For many societies, ceramic ware was also a source of trade and income. The Neolithic cultures, 10,000-2,000 BPE, elevated this agrarian system into a complex way of living. In the midst of this utilitarian focus, our ancient potters exhibited a spectacular imagination and creative sensibility that produced artfully decorated ware equal to our modern day artists. With the invention of the potter’s wheel around 6000 BPE, men began to take over the production of pottery..." 

27,000 BPE
"The Upper Paleolithic, or Ice Age ..."The uncovering of the Dolni Vestonice Venus from the cave site in Czechoslovakia is of special interest to ceramists. In that ice free corridor of Czechoslovakia a grouping of three huts was discovered in close proximity to one another, dating from 27,000 BPE. Inside each hut were hearths ringed with flat stones, made from a shallow depression in the flooring. The two larger huts had five hearths each and it is believed that they were the communal dwellings of a hunting clan. In particular, the smallest hut with similar flooring was entirely enclosed in a wall of limestone and clay.  This hut’s hearth provided a spectacular discovery in ceramic history.  A prehistoric kiln in the shape of a "beehive" was surrounded by thousands of clay pellets, attesting to a ceramic modeler’s work.  Along with these pellets were found fragments of the heads of two bears and a fox and some unfinished statuettes. Some archaeologists believe this 30,000-year-old kiln to be the oldest kiln ever to be discovered.

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