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Siberian figurines reassessed

07 Mar 2016
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An online article by Will Stewart In Moscow and Abigail Beall for Mailonline - Naked female 'Venus figurines' made from ancient Siberian mammoth tusks turn out to be Men, and most are clothed - reports on recent research on the figurines that were found during excavations in Siberia between 1920 and 1960. Russian scientists have been looking at them in greater detail, and the findings suggest the figurines are likely to be reassessed.

Mal'ta and Buret figurine sculptures Image: Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg
Mal'ta and Buret figurine sculptures. Image: Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg.

The 40 or so figurines were thought to be depict naked women, but researchers can now see they depict men and children as well as women, and are mostly clothed.

Mal'ta and Buret figurine sculptures Image: Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg

The figurines were found during excavations close to the Angara River near Lake Baikal in Siberia between 1920 and 1960. Recently, Dr Lyudmila Lbova and Dr Pavel Volkov, from the Laboratory of Interdisciplinary Study of Primitive Art of Eurasia in Novosibirsk, have used modern technology to take a closer look at the prehistoric sculptures.

 
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Mal'ta and Buret figurine sculptures Image: Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg

This study is less concerned with the sculptures' symbolism and their interpretations, but more to study the surface and to understand how these figurines were made.

The study reveals different types of hats, hairstyles, shoes and accessories, which were depicted with thin lines. The prehistoric artists used different techniques to highlight the different materials - fur, leather, and decorations.

 

Read more about the sculptures of the Ice Age:

http://www.bradshawfoundation.com/sculpture/index.php

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