Education,  History,  Museum,  Museum Sketching

Museum sketching: “Mama” – Venus of Hohle Fels

Sketching in the museum is so much fun and “Mama” is very famous in our region. Her original name is: Venus of Hohle Fels. She is 35.000 – 40.000 year old and was found in a cave in 2008 in Schelklingen, Swabian Alb, Germany. With this age “Mama” is the oldest female figure which was ever found (till now). She is only 6 cm high.

Unluckily she was burst into pieces when she was found, but it was possible to reconstruct the beautiful artefact.

She is made of mammoth ivory and shows a very curvey female body. Instead of the head, there is round part with an hole inside. So there could go a band of leather trough to wear it as a necklace.

“Mama” is a symbol of feminine power and fertility. The question behind is, who was wearing this amulet? Was this a normal woman or a female shaman? Or maybe a man was taking it with him? Do we know that? Unluckily not. We can only check other historic data and it is clear, that already the human race started to make art 40.000 years ago.

The human body was shown in an abstract way

But very clear is, that in the early ages the human body was always shown in an abstract way with more symolism instead of the eye of the reality. If you are looking to animal figures of this age, you can find out, that these figures are very detailed and based on the reality.

A picture of the original Venus from the Museum leaflet

So that means, to skulputre or paint a human body was a completely different thing instead of an animal body.

Some artefacts are also showing a mix between human and animal, for example a head of a lion and body of a man. A very famous figure was found not so far away from the area were the Venus was found – in the Lone Valley, Germany.

It is called the Lionman and found 1939 and was bursted into 300 splitter. The museum of Ulm made a reconstruction in all details. His lion face is very detailed, the rest of the male human body is more abstract.

Art and music was coming up

Very interesting is the fact that this long time ago life was not only practical. Art was also a way to

  • send messages
  • use it as a reminder/ calender
  • gave protection
  • gave blessings

Also music instruments got created, like fluets which were made of different animal bones. Also music was not only a practical thing. These cave people were very cultivated and creative.

Sketching “Mama”

peak in my museum sketchbook

The figure was burst and I was able to take picture of her very close. Respecting the COVID19 rules inside sketching in the museum in front of the glass case was not possible.

But I was very happy to get good pictures with my camera for my study and I want to try to watercolor her.

Actually nothing on her body is in any proportion. Cause of her damage she is cutted and splittered. But the reconstruction was so well done, that I was able to catch the details fo her body very well. Actually she is a very small artefact, so zooming into the picture was very helpful.

Do you also like sketching in the museum? Where have you been and what was your experience?

More about “Mama”

If you want to see more Mama – here is her 3D Drawing, you can check her out: click here

Wanna meet her in person? Then visit the urmu Museum in Blaubeuren, Germany: click here

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