Living in a patriarchal world, the name “Venus” was first used in a tone of mocking irony but later became the collective term used to identify all obese Palaeolithic statuettes of women. The use of the name “Venus” leads to a comparison between her and other female statues and denies the figurine a chance to be analyzed by her own terms and free of the presumptions provoked by the name.
There is no doubt that the statue is biological female. In the art world, the “Venus of Willendorf” is anything but unconventional. Unlike the Classical and Renaissance Venus’s, which display a civilized and restraint response to female sexuality, the “Venus of Willendorf” is a bold,unrefined and realistic representation of a fat woman with her bulging and pear shaped body, large breasts, ample abdomen and a vulva slit.
Given the physical appearance of the figurine’s large but flat buttocks, there was some speculation that she was on African origin.Unfortunately, there is a lack of evidence that would support or refute this claim.
The obese size of the figurine suggests special status. Her size would have greatly impaired her ability to lead an average life that involved moving around foraging and gathering.This leads to the conclusion that she must have been catered to and had her needs met by others.
There are speculation about the intended purpose of the figurine. Its been argued that she might have been simply a Stone-Age doll.There are other claims that, since during its discovery there were traces of red ochre pigment and given that the figurine’s most satisfying position is being held in the hand, the figurine may have been a charm or amulet for women in connection with fertility. The most popular claim that the statue was some sort of fertility idol takes into consideration that the arms,face and feet are either downplayed or missing while there is an emphasis on her large breasts and roundness of her stomach.
Given the number of paleolithic female figures resembling the “Venus of Willendorf” found in various areas ranging from France to Siberia, there is speculation of the existence of a Matriarchy society.
Witcombe, Christopher. Women in Prehistory. Venus of Willendorf. 2003. 20th Feb. 2011.http://witcombe.sbc.edu/willendorf/willendorfwomen.html