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Venus Figurines – Fertility Symbols, Portraits, Dolls, or Upper Paleolithic Porn?

More than 200 small statuettes of voluptuous female figures have been found at Upper Paleolithic sites across Europe and parts of Asia. They are popularly referred to as Venus figurines , but the cultural meaning and purpose of these figures is a hot topic for debate.

Some of the different theories put forward include fertility symbols, self-portraits, Stone Age dolls, realistic depictions of actual women, ideal representations of female beauty, religious icons, representations of a mother goddess, or even the equivalent of pornographic imagery. What do you think?

Ancient Venus of Laussel

Normally the fertility goddess is associated with agriculture. The Venus of Laussel predates agriculture. The images while nude are not pornographic in nature. In this particular case, the image is holding a crescent horn with 13 notches. The horn is a symbol of the new moon, the start of the lunar month and lunar year. The number 13 is the number of lunar months in a lunar year (approx) and is connected to the menstruation cycle associated with fertility.  In this instance, this goddess is more associated with the moon goddess Selene than the planet Venus.  I believe later Babylonian depictions of the nude goddess used live models, i.e. the high priestess of the temple of Ishtar who was the goddess incarnate on earth. But I can’t prove that one way or another.

In Honor of the Mother

Max Dashu of Suppressed Histories would have a lot to add to subject.  From a blog on the divine feminine app:  “Caught up in their search for rulers, chieftains, and weapons, writers and editors disregarded female representations. They often deemed the cultures where the female icons were prominent as unimportant as well. It was common to see the small female icons dismissed as toys, “dancing girls,” and “concubines.” Even now academics persist in reducing them to the flattening stereotype of “fertility idols.” The term “Venus figurine” also imposes an alien interpretative framework, ...”   Surely time for ‘Our Mother’ to take her place aongside ‘Our Father’.

 

 

 

     

a better way to be inspired, be informed and be connected
theDivineFeminineApp.com

Earth mother

Goddess Earth Mother in the Neolithic age is the first god.

Most likely, worship of BHUDEVI, the Mother Earth goddess in the Neolithic. Most likely before the Vedas.

Earth mother goddess called BHUDEVI in India, CYBELE in Europe, GAIA in Greece and so on in the Neolithic age 20,000 BP to 5000 BP. Her temples were in the form of “womb of the Earth mother” where Clan Chieftains were buried, later on any ancestor and later any deity. Indian temples carry on this tradition and call temples “GARBAGRHA” which means womb in Sanskrit. Her symbols are seen on wedding talismans, female genitalia (NAMAM) and breasts (BOTTU) and MM for the waters of life). These symbols are also symbols of VISHNU whose wife is BHUDEVI and can be seen on wedding talismans in common use in India. They are called MANGALASUTHRAS in Sanskrit and TIRUMAANGALYM in Tamil. 

The prehistoric Venus (or Earth mother goddess) is BHUDEVI.

Later patriarchy developed and Vishnu was the male god of protection and Lakshmi arose from churning of oceans and had to marry Vishnu but the old goddess was too well established to go away. She also stayed which is why Vishnu has two wives.

Maria Gumbutas shows a figurine with these symbols in her book. These symbols are in use in India to the present day. Earth mother is the original creatrix of all Indo-Europe. She is called by various names GAIA , CERES, BHUDEVI etc.

Symbols are doubled to indicate power. Two M, Two vulvas, two breast's and on some figurines two buttocks which looks peculiar. M is a symbol for water (of life), called mu in Egyptian ( Maria Gimbutas). “ The language of the goddess” by Marita Gimbutas, Harper and Row, San Francisco,1989.

How about Boudica?

BHUDEVI sounds similar to “Boudica”, the warrior queen of the British Celts defeated by a Roman army.     Any relationship?

Venus in Rock Art

In rock art and Sumerian cylinder seal Venus appears normal and  not the voluptuous female we often award her. Her importance is more astronomical and has to do matching the moon and sun cycles. Read my article:

http://israelrockart.com/posts/venus-calendar/

yr

Normal

What do you mean by normal? I think that is fairly subjective. Who is to say that this was not the norm for fertility at this time?

 

Venus was not a fertility

Venus was not a fertility goddes at least not in Sumer 2000 BC when her astronomical cycle discovered, she was the harmonizer the one that verified the sun and moon cycles. Much later she inherited some aspects of fertility.

yr

usage of the Venus figures

One thing that has only recently been addressed by archeologists is testing artifacts for minute residue, which has lead to the rediscovery of the recipe for ancient beverages.  Has onyone tested any of the Venus figurines for residue of any kind?  The figurine in the opening photo shows discoloration on the center back, the sides of the hips, but surprisingly not the breasts.  This would indicate how the figure had been held when in use, but were they analized?  In the unlikely chance that it had been a pornographic item, would any human effluvia have left any traces?  If those discolorations were from someone holding it, would analyzing any residue show anything?  Was it held in the hand, or cradled in some material?  I have read too many times of common assumptions causing the overlooking of valuable information.
I would assume that its position when found would have been recorded, but has anyone speculated as to why it was at one particular place in the site?

Holding

I assume they would have been held in any ritual.

 

Venus figurines

Such figurines, looking very similar in principle, have been found over vast stretches of geography and ranging tens of thousands of years in age. They are almost certainly expressions of instinctive feelings inherent in humankind. Those same instincts are the roots of all religion, expressing reverence for concepts like The Father, The Mother, The Child, and Fertility. (The Father tended to be also The Creator, The Lawgiver and The Highest.)

Those deities were most obviously attested to and worshiped in the literate farming civilizations, where complex societies gave birth to complex religions. However, the concepts inherent in the innumerable divine families imagined in human history are formed by our human mentality, evolved to adapt to life in families and tribes. The ancient “Venus” figurines are probably associated with respect for Motherhood and Fertility.

Literate societies

You say literate societies as opposed to … what? What constitutes literacy? If that is your understanding, I highly recommend “The Alphabet Versus the Goddess” by Leonard Slain.

Venus figurines

“Literate societies” describe societies that are literate, i.e., the write down things, giving us the names and characteristics of their deities, even what those deities demand of their devotees. That is very helpful in informing us of about what the meaning was of their artistic creations.

Ancient Playboy figurine

While there are Shabtis in Egypt found buried with mummies, and the biblical story of Rachel taking the family figurines from Laban, all these could represent small models of genealogical ancestors.  The “Venus” figurines are quite different.  They are not found in burials with dead people.  There are no male representations of such Zeus figurines.  The obvious consideration is that, like the ivory horizontal-laying dolls of Asia, is that they represented the female figure, and such model would be how a female would talk to a doctor, by non-touch and medical inspection and analysis.  The female would point to such-and-such location(s) and say “I have a problem here.”  The doctor would then make the necessary medical analysis and recommended medicine etc.  The Venus figurines are not medical dolls.  That leaves such unburied figurines with dead people, or medical dolls, as being the paleo-/meso-/neo-lithic Playboy figurines … and  being used as a “wanker” object.  It is now medically found that big hipped women are more fertile (having excess fat) on their hips and stomach regions, and conceive more easy than skinny beanpole no breasts, no hips females.  A Stone Age male (and female) wanting fertility, conception, and birth of a family would want such a figurine in their household.  A Stone Age Playboy male would have such a figurine for personal use.

Venus Figurines

The name Venus Figurines is inappropriate as a Roman or Latin name applied to a figurine from a period many years earlier than the Latin name ‘Venus’. These figurines, to me, are obviously in celebration of the concept or idea of ‘femininity’ and, because they are in no way pornographic, are appropriate to that concept.

Mister Will

Venus figurines

Venu is also Sanskrit and if the Vedas are 20,000 years old as new data suggests, it can be the original name too. The estimate of the Vedic period is from the constellations quoted in SURYASIDDANTA an astronomical text when the pole star was in Draco.

Inappropriate "Naming"

I agree with Mister Will. Perhaps we should not attempt to place a patriarchal palimpsest on top of a matriarchal culture. We don’t have the information. Views of beauty have fluctuated over the millennium. 

Thank you Nina Paley
Patriarchy came much later.

Patriarchy came much later. The first god was a goddess Earth-mother the creatrix of all nature food and fruits and animals that made hunter gatherer life possible. Agriculture came later which made settled life possible together with civilization, control, monarchy and patriarchy.

Paleolithic matriarcy

I appreciate your comments and agree with matriarchy being the earlier social structure of Hunter-Gatherer clans, as the men must of necessity have been away much of the time hunting and defending territory, which left the women to “keep the home fires burning”, gathering herbs, and tending the vulnerable including children, as well as defending the home base camp from predators.      Thanks for some common sense, often missing in academia.

Fertility goddess

The issue I have is to reconcile the conflicting viewpoints of archeology on the issue. In one case we have the fertility goddess being the earliest god, yet we are also told animals/totemism was the earliest. Egypt and even Babylon had animal-headed gods in their early beliefs. The fertility goddess has related to agriculture also. For this reason I don’t see a one size fits all.

Fertility Goddess vs animal totemism?

All we can really say is that the over 400 known “Venus” figurines and a smaller number of small animal carvings are the earliest known human representational art.     The over 200 painted caves in southern Europe have almost exclusively predator and prey animals represented from the ice-age environment.     How could we ever know the true purpose of either?      Speculations abound and are entertaining, but nothing more, just speculations.    I’ll leave the much later Egyptian and Babylonian examples to you.     Whatever the function of the Venus figurines, they clarly represent highly esteemed women and are often found buried in the floors of excavated Russian steppe H-G dwellings constructed of Mammoth bones.     They had an esteemed function.     We just don’t know what it was and comparison with much later female figurines is a leap of faith I dare not make.     Have a great day!

Comparisons

Everything evolves from something else. We can make inferences on the past based on the present. I believe the Lascaux caves are a calendar and depict constellations as per Dr. Michael Rappengluec. Egyptian gods with animal heads were part of their constellation make-up. Females were also lunar deities in Europe. I would make an inference that Egyptians were one time cannibalistic because the rules of the Osiris cult had a ban against it. You generally don’t make laws unless something is a problem. I have also found circumstantial evidence of astrological signs and events being passed down orally for 10,000 years.

I do agree it is dangerous to make inferences of the past if you are attempting to draw a line from a single point. But we have multiple points to connect, the question is which points connect and how.

Hello Everyone,

Hello Everyone,

 

I am working on my MA Dissertation in Egyptology. As part of my work I am examining the Upper Paleolithic art, including the Venus Figurines.

My research so far tends towards confirming that these figurines were cult objects in a nascent proto-religious thought arising as part from the ‘symbolic revolution’ that took place at this time period prior to the Neolithic. There are a lot of interesting theories of how belief in the supernatural arose and the role that art played in the birth of proto-religions. The belief in a divine feminie life giving and nurturing force...later to become the ‘mother goddess’ during the Near East Neolithic period (9000 – 6000 BCE), and of course Pre-Dynastic Egypt (the focus of my research)

I am still at the begining of my research...give me a month or so and I hopefully may be able to shed more light on this fascinating period of human history.
Best wishes to all

Stay Safe

Khaled El Shalakany

Egypt Zodiac

I have posted here, at acedemia.edu, and on Mythvision an ancient Egyptian constellation that could date from that era. It has Neith (wearing red crown) and baby Horus on her lap showing the religion may go back to about 6,000 BCE. 

Many thanks...I will look it

Many thanks...I will look it up

Khaled El Shalakany

Venus figurines

That sounds interesting. How do I find the depiction? Why do you say the female figure is Neith? The female holding Horus is usually Isis. The Egyptians did not have writing until about 3,000 BCE, so the name is subject of speculation.

picture

It was somewhere on the Ancient Origins website. This was the first place I posted it. Not sure where it is now.

https://www.academia.edu/39981145/Oldest_Modern_Zodiac_circa_7_000_BCE

I also have four episodes on Mythvision. I mention this in the first one and again later in another one.  This is the first one, you can skip to about 8 minutes into the film. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s4SKLqmyseY&t=9s

carvings and statues

I do not know why people did the things they did but if you look at modern culture you may see ancient ones in a different light. Consider what distant future people would think if they found pictures of Kim Kardashian or movies of Janet Mason and some of the male porn stars. It seems that oversized breasts and hips are still popular with many and then there are those who prefer the super slim. How many of us get scam mail for penis enlargement or breast enhancement

tom hickey

Fruitfulness and prosperity

When the ancients did not link birth to sex, they considered femininity as something magical, which they consequently honored as divine, trying to attract fertility and prosperity for themselves, the abundance of forms stylistically characterized the wish for a fruitful and reproductive future, there was probably a long prehistoric phase in which matriarchy was the dominant culture in the primitive settlements.

Fertility figurines

It could simply be that the figurines were given the obese form because that made them more durable. If dolls had been carved or fashioned out of brittle material with proportionate limbs they would have been more susceptible to breaking. Lumps of stone to start from with the right shape would have been easier to find. This alone does not answer the question of why any figurines would have been wanted in the first place.

Of course, in prehistory, clothing and food would have been more difficult to obtain than nowadays, resulting in obesity then being regarded as desirable for protection from the cold by insulation and imparting longevity in contrast to now where being overweight is seen as slowly lethal. In modern times, being underweight is over-represented and portrayed by the entertainment and fashion industries as beautiful, and this perception is possible because of its association with youth, and hence reproductive fertility that declines with age. The extreme fatness of the figurines may well have been erotic. To modern eyes, they probably appear more matronly than maidenly.

It might be that people were naïve enough to believe that by praying to a representation of something fat, they would be able to get similar abundance, perhaps like begging from their mothers to be fed. This aspect of human nature could well persist, where in religion to a god is attributed characteristics of a parent figure. People in future might be wondering what all the crucifixes were about.

Obese

They are not obese. They are pregnant.

Pregnancy versus obesity

The figurine shown in the photograph of the invitation email was most certainly obese.

The figurines may have served the purpose of psychological tools for encouraging obedience from children towards their parents. When language may not have been so well developed, instruction would have been conducted through demonstration. However, as it is not so easy to demonstrate how to show respect to oneself, the communicator could have made or obtained an image of the self and proceeded to enact upon it the reverence that was being sought from the child. The child then seeing such homage may have thought “Please don’t abandon me to that lifeless lump. I will behave well from now on.”

Pregnancy versus obesity

It can also be imagined that during those periods hunger was a reality with which one lived, the struggle for life was certainly not easy, so the representation of a fat figure could also mean the antithesis of the struggle for survival, in a world where malnutrition was not unknown the fat individual was probably more a myth than a reality, after all, mass malnutrition is only a few centuries away from us, the curious thing is that this type of representations have continued all over the world for thousands of years, so the attempt at reconstruction must take into account a common and lasting condition.

not 21st century perspective

Thank you!

Fertility Figures

Consider one of the goddesses of our age “Barbie"

CeresD

Agreed

People never understood the magic of a growing belly and a life form produced. Of course it was magic.

Venus figurines

Thanks to Alicia for the invite to my favorite subject, as I own the largest collection in private hands, all of which have been variously authenticated.     These are obviously objects representing esteemed senior female figures in Hunter-Gatherer clans and over 400 are known, although many were carved from Mammoth ivory and are badly preserved over the 15-40kyrs.     Cave find soft stone numbers are rare and I have 8 in my collections.     Remember, these are the earliest known examples of human representational art all are female.     Many female sculpted objects are known in later cultures and in historic times, but these predate and are dated all the way back to 40YBP, although most appear to have been fashioned with flint tools in ice-age cave refuges.     The iconic Venus of Willendorf Austria is pictured at the opening of this piece and has been stratigraphically dated at 24KBP.     I have 8 of her sisters and they follow very similar characteristics of material and construction.    Glad to send photos to anyone with a serious interest.     [email protected]

purpose/function of Venus figurines

Interesting comments and appreciated, but how about a few facts.    These female figurines number over 400 and not a single male.     They date between 40KYA and the Neolithic.     Their creators appear to have been synchronous with the beautiful “paintings” of contemporary animals (predatores and prey) on ice-age refugia cave walls, over 200 such caves known so far.     Thus, they were created between an inter-glacial and the last European ice-age (c.24-16KYA) and several in my collection were carved from stalagmites, the rest from soft local stone.     The members of the hard pressed Hunter-Gatherer clans whose ritual life they served clearly were honoring these women and fecundity.     Matriarchy had to have been the political reality as the men were of necessity often gone from the home base off hunting or warring and the women were left to defend the home base-camp and “keep the home fires burning” to protect the young and vulnerable.     A massive decline in population of Upper Paleolithic Hunter-Gatherers must have accompanied the last glaciation of northern Europe, so a restoration of pre-glaciation numbers and habitats would have followed the glacial retreat.      A Mammoth ivory spearthrower C14 dated at 15KYA in my collection has a wonderfully carved Auroch on one side and a Reindeer on the other, and collection notes indicate it was found on a river bank excavation outside Berlin during railroad construction (c. 1885?).      These animals were plentiful in the expanding grasslands following the retreating glacial margin in the vicinity of Berlin c.15KYA.     So, women were critically important functionally, as was restoration/maintenance of population numbers, and forced cave survival during an ice-age were certainties for the sculptors who created the earliest known human representations in these over 400 Venus figurines, although many are known from the Mammoth hunter camps of the Eurasian plains (no ready limestone caves?).    Thanks to one and all for an interesting discussion.     [email protected]m

It is an allegorical

It is an allegorical representation for the universe, which we also call the Milky Way  https://archaeologydataservice.ac.uk/archiveDS/archiveDownload?t=arch-35...

Venus Figurines- Fertility Symbols & pornographic imagery

Hi All,

My initial thought on the Venus figurines is that they were created to celebrate the Female Body because of Fertility.

I had forgotten they were miniature goddesses that the people worshipped.

There were other nude Dolls that celebrated the Female body depicting them as Full-Figure women big breast, full voluptuous belly today's world would say these Figurine Women were Obese an yet the Ancient World didn't see their bodies like that at all.

I think today's world has pornography confused when, it comes to The Ancient World and how they see the Human body nobody seems incline to cover up Michelangelo's statue of David so why disturbed by Venus and other Female body doll figurines?

I think the Ancient World was more respectful than in today's world.

According to stories describing Venus the goddess of love supposedly her beauty was such No one could match her but, we know that wasn't true because of Psyche when she came along, the human population verbally move along Venus New Beauty has arrived on the scene.

It seems the Ancient World had an abundance of Venus' in diverse cultures and language's one may want too stop an pause think of the possibility Venus once lived. Since I believe in Enoch there's no doubt for me Venus did once live.

This is all I have to share on Venus and the figurines I'm sure when I mull something over about this Topic I'll come back here and share it but, for now until next time, Everyone, Goodbye!

Venus Figurines – Fertility Symbols, Portraits, Dolls, or Upper

As with Zucchini, I have always associated these figurines with fertility in some way or other…. and of course, many variants on this theme could be imagined. I have been interested in this type of imagery moving on (almost unchanged) into more recent times and I have noticed that many stone “idols” from all over the world, while often sharing the themes of abundance and pregnancy, are sometimes heavily worn/polished as a result of extensive handling. I have wondered whether they could also be “birthing” assistants and manipulated time after time by generations of mothers...

Alexart

I have been reading and

I have been reading and paying attention to archeology both pre and post history for decades

.  A reasonable argument presented a few years ago was that the venus figures were strung on a cord that a pregnant woman would wear to ensure that she had a complete and healthy pregnancy resulting in a healthy child.  I can’t say which particular article talked of this but it also said that this practice was documented in historical societies.

 

Ancient Artifacts

My observation on objects like this is to note that at this time depth, out of an actual cultural context, it’s sometimes hard (if not impossible) for our modern brains to get around what the significance of an object might be to the ones who created it. 

I’m always suspicious when I see unique, unusual, or puzzling artifacts labelled “Ritual Object” by Archaeologists. If the object depicts nude (especially female) figures or is phallus shaped, the more “precise” label tends to be “Fertility Symbol”. 

I think in many cases this represents an unwillingness on the part of researchers to admit they don’t know something, “Ritual Object” or “Fertility Symbol” sound more scholarly and knowledgable than “We don’t know what it was for.” 

In the case of phallic shaped objects, so called fertility symbols; it’s further an unwillingness to allow that such an object may well have merely been a sex toy. 

Humans have always liked sex, and to interpret that impulse in light of our current, relatively puritanical, cultural mindset, is a failure of imagination at least. 
 

Significance of the object

The meaning of the item seems clear; it means “I want that”. What the referent “that” is is to be debated. From the obese form, it is most likely to be a kind of wealth, abundance, or fertility.

Pornography has been alive

Pornography has been alive for millennia...

From stardust I was born, to stardust I shall return

Recognising fertility in an adultrous manner

Issues related to such artifacts may need to be traced back into the biblical times of the prophet Hosea and the time of the afrodites . During these times fertility was celebrated through harlotry. Harlotry was in some sort an offering to the god of fertility and I'm quite sure that such artifacts had a roles in as far as the appeasement of the gods was concerned. However coming from an African (which might not be applicable though) narrative such artifacts were as good as objects of just symbolising fertility or trying to portray the roles of a certain sexual oriented group in the affairs of fertility i.e both of the land and human/societal.

Tatenda Tavingeyi

“Harlotry was in some sort an offering to the god of fertility"

“Harlotry was in some sort an offering to the god of fertility": That is rubbish; people have sex because they want to have sex, not to appease some god. People may create a god and a fertility rite in order to get sex they wouldn’t ordinarily be able to get for lack of attractiveness. There is no fertility god between a man and a woman. People may create a god for sex, not the other way around.

People have sex because they want to have sex

I would agree to that ,but first of all we need to understand the fact that, this act was being done in a certain manner which gives me the idea that although people do certain acts because they want to but in certain instances the manner in which the act is done makes it a ritual..Sex in temples or public spaces for examples cannot be regarded as an act being done because the actors want it ..Another issue is that, one has to consider the fact that the way we perceive different things may not be the same as they were perceived in ancient times. As times changes ideologies also changes to suit the trends..

Tatenda Tavingeyi

Venus objects and possible anthropomorphic connections

Hello All.

As an amateur archaeologist I have made a number of observations that appear to connect rock art and large-scale anthropomorphic images in Azerbaijan with Ancient Egypt.  I believe this has come about because of a catastrophic flood and subsequent migration and cultural transfer away from the Caucasus region and Central Asia.  An important aspect of these observations and deductions is a possible connection between Venus figurines and both Azerbaijani and Egyptian iconography. 

I first became intrigued by ‘Venus figurines’ when living in Azerbaijan and came to associate them with the earth goddess, fertility and astronomical observations.  Dr. Maritja Gimbutas was an important research resource.   Common symbolism noted in the figurines were a lack of facial features, a lozenge like diamond surrounding the navel and often upraised arms.  

My interest was prompted by the enigmatic ‘Maiden Tower’ or locally Gys Gilasi in Baku which a colleague – Abbas Islamov and I thought might be a stylised anthropomorphic monument, representative of the Egyptian goddess Isis/Hathor. In addition, the tower also had evident solar orientation features and in particular towards the winter solstice sunrise.

These ideas were explored in the Azerbaijan International magazine and posted in my Academia.edu page. Relevant features of note are the curious diamond shaped cut pattern seen on limestone blocks and indeed the outline of the tower. Early images of the tower indicate a staircase-like profile which is similar to the hieroglyph for Hathor.   This may be coincidental, but I think it is possible to show how Venus figures changed through time from Palaeolithic antiquity to the Neolithic to include Mehet Weret who was a precursor of Hathor and later associated with the goddess Isis.

Connections linking Azerbaijan to Ancient Egypt may seem rather crazy, but there is good evidence of this in an ancient grave-good and board game called ‘Hounds and Jackals’, examples of which can be found throughout the Near East and Egypt.

These connections may seem rather bizarre, but curiously it was a firm conviction of Sir William Flinders Petrie, who mapped both geographical and cultural information within the mythical landscape of Egyptian Book of the Dead to the Caucasus.  Understanding the reason for migration eluded Petrie, whose peers thought his idea to be an eccentricity. Unfortunately, Petrie was not aware of a cataclysmic flood that impacted Eurasia, possibly around 9,700 years ago.  Evidence of this flood is etched into the Azerbaijani landscape, as strandlines in a valley floor at 222m above mean sea level and on wave eroded mud volcanoes.  The flood has yet to be investigated and dated.

For information on the flood and some implications see my Academia.edu article on Caspian strandlines.

I suspect that a massive marine deluge then initiated migration to safer locations, such as to the predynastic Nile Valley.  Customs and traditions including symbolism and iconography associated with the earth goddess would also have been transported to Egypt.  In this regard I suspect Mehet Weret/Hathor may well be symbolised by the sacred mountain Mt Barmak, or locally Besh Barmak.

To understand this, it is necessary to recognise there are a number of modified rock outcrops and/or large man-made carvings in Azerbaijan which are representative of anthropomorphic images.  Mt. Barmak may be regarded as the principle anthropomorphic image in Azerbaijan and is discussed in my Academia.edu article on anthropomorphic images.

Mt. Barmak is significant in that, it is a rich archaeological area and has two other associated anthropomorphic images, i.e. a human figure with upraised arms and a two headed serpent. Both images are relevant to Egyptian iconography.  I believe Barmak to be a representation of the goddess Mehet Weret.  In the context of earth goddesses there are a number of aphorisms associated with Mehet Weret.  For instance she is described as:

Giving birth to the sun every day.
She wears a headdress with the sun disc between her horns.
She is shown as a cow lying on a reed mat, or a woman with a cow’s head.
Mehet Weret means ‘great flood’.
She has the title of Lady of Heaven and Earth and the Great Cow in the water.

All of these attributes may apply to Mt. Barmak, as it would have appeared with the Caspian Sea at a much higher level.   Indeed, Mt. Barmak may also be the ‘Mountain of Bakhua of the Rising Sun’ as mentioned in the Egyptian Book of the Dead. 

Going further, I suspect that the animal (cow?) shaped Mt. Barmak to be the origin of the Sphinx.  To understand this, survivors who migrated away from the Caspian took their animistic tradition of large carvings with them thus creating the original Sphinx, possibly as a landmark, and in memory of their ancestral homeland and in the early Neolithic.  Positioned downhill of the Giza plateau in an enclosure, rainwater would pond around the Sphinx in a wetter climate to further support the allusion with Mt. Barmak and a higher Caspian Sea.    

This is a digression but it does seem there are many strange coincidences and similarities when comparing Azerbaijan’s anthropomorphic images with Ancient Egypt.  These ought to be explored and investigated in an open-minded manner.  That a massive deluge occurred is self-evident from the geomorphological strandlines.  This all needs to be considered and investigated by relevant experts.  Ultimately, I suspect Sir Flinders Petrie’s conviction of Egyptian ancestral origins in the Caucasus may be confirmed and the great man vindicated.    

In the context of this forum, to me, there seems to be connections between Venus statuettes, earth goddess imagery, Mt. Barmak and the anthropomorphised cow headed Mehet Weret, Hathor, Isis and even the Maiden Tower.  

As an aside, I’d like to draw attention to two stone statues found buried in a rescue dig of a burial mound on the Absheron peninsula.  One is clearly a feminine in outline and both have had their tops/heads broken.  See photographs 58 to 64 in the AI magazine link above.  The burial of statues presented a puzzle and I considered they were deliberately damaged, or ‘killed’ but out of reverence ceremonially buried in a kurgan.  I’ve often wondered about this suspecting that the female statue represented the earth goddess and that she was ritually killed.  Perhaps this might have suggested a change of culture or religion from animistic paganism one to maybe Zoroastrianism?  The ‘female’ statue is currently on display, with no context, at a Gala Museum near Baku.

I trust these observations are of interest and would welcome any comments or questions.

Ronnie Gallagher

([email protected])

Ps. Apologies folks for the lack of links above. This seems to be forbidden.  

Kurgan

Egypt Earth Goddess

Egypt didn’t have an earth goddess. She had Geb, an earth god who was male. The problem with this discussion is there is some assumption that the usage of the figurines separated by thousands of miles and thousands of years was somehow universal. As I mentioned in my first post, the early figurines were associated with the moon. Many cultures developed a female lunar deity. The Venus=fertility was a Babylonian creation who like males for their lunar deity. Egypt had a cat, Bast. Fertility became associated with Virgo, most likely at the time Virgo represented the Vernal Equinox. The Babylonians associated asterisms with stars and constellations, each one having 12 each (another topic). Venus was associated with Virgo the fertility sign. Greece copied this aspect. Egypt did not. Venus was associated with Set. The rise of Venus marked sunset, also a time for lovemaking. As the morning star (light bringer) Ishtar was a male god of war. Rome maintained the male counterpart in the morning star who they called Lucifer.

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