Response to a student’s discussion

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The response should be a minimum of 150 words. Your response should be substantive. I do not want you to simple agree or disagree, but rather comment on why you agree or disagree, raise more points, indicate commonalities or differences, discuss the issue in relation to our readings, and/or raise new questions about which we can all think. The response does not have to be more than a well-developed paragraph. A sentence will not get you credit. I don’t want you to respond with “Great job. Keep it up.” That is an F response.

Respond to this: “Venus Figurines refer to an early example of a carved figurine that shows the ideal female form. The Venus Figurines were carven during the Upper Paleolithic period between 26,000 and 21,000 years ago. Many of the carvings had a head too small for their body and wide hips tapered to a point which showed an over exaggerated form of the female body. The meaning and purpose of the “Venus” fertility Figurines from those periods suggests deep veneration of the reproductive role of women, and analogy with modern hunter-gatherer societies implies that females largely share in the egalitarian structure of small bands (Brand, Feres p. 34).

The Venus prompted a new way of thinking, encouraging some scholars to focus on what the figure tells us about prehistoric perceptions of beauty, obesity, and fertility. Anthropologists at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, recently published a study arguing that large, corpulent figurines symbolized the hope for a well-nourished community that the ancient carvers may have wanted(Curry). The large bodies the figurines portray what can also be seen is that society favored larger, rounder woman not less rotund ones (Brand, Feres p. 35). Rounder women were seen as more fertile, and were perceived as having better access to resources.

The art and sculptures of the early years can tell us much about the ancient societies that used them. But the Venus Figurines have ignited a serious scholarly debate that has been around since the Stone Age figurines were first discovered early last century at Hohle Fels and nearby caves. Were these literal representations of the surrounding world? Or artworks created to express emotions or abstract ideas? (Curry). Some scholars viewed such pieces as representations of sought after game animals so more like survival tools and less like works of art. The problem is, many of the figurines discovered so far—predators such as lions and bears do not correspond to what prehistoric people ate, their diet was mainly horse or grain. Other scholars perceived the prehistoric figurines not as imaginative works but literal depictions of hallucinations (Curry).

Early prehistoric religion mostly took the form of worship towards gods and goddesses, the gods and goddesses were important to the ancient people’s religion. The religion had a hierarchical system of leadership with High Priests at the top followed various religious leaders (The Art of the Chauvet Cave). Based on this system, the religion when was very important to these ancient peoples and taken very seriously because that was what a lot of their lives revolved around. The way the religion was worshipped in a hierarchical manor, the remaining culture may have followed suit. With as the most important aspect of their life which my belief was their religion, it is safe to say that the influence would be passed onto other parts of their lives.”

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