A replica of the Venus of Balzi Rossi - the star object from the exhibition, Ice Age art: arrival of the modern mind.
At 20,000 years old, this remarkable statue is one of the earliest known examples of art ever produced by humans. It was discovered at the Balzi Rossi caves in Grimaldi, Italy (hence the name).
The statue is allotted to the upper Palaeolithic period (around 25,000 years ago). The original, carved in green steatite, was called "the Rhombus" because of its silhouette, with a generous body but a reduced head and members. It is in fact a pregnant woman with the sexual and maternal characters exaggerated to evoke fertility, which was an important concept for the prehistoric hunters-gatherers.
The "Palaeolithic Venus" statuettes are very rare; only ten are known under various representations (this replica is of the "Venus of Balzi Rossi"). They show a remarkable level of technical ability in the sculptors who produced them. In fact, these Venus statues fascinated Pablo Picasso.
Cast in resin, this is a small replica measuring 11.5cm by 3cm by 3cm (the exact size of the original it is moulded from).