Female antropomorphic figure "Venus"

Unknown40th-5th century B.C

Museo de Arte Precolombino e Indígena (MAPI), Uruguay

Museo de Arte Precolombino e Indígena (MAPI), Uruguay
Montevideo, Uruguay

The size of these female anthropomorphic representations is between 7 and 20 cm and they were initially made ​​of stone. Later they were hand shaped from two clay cylinders joining the head with the body which was split to create the legs. Afterwards, the headdress and arms were added. They have a round shape and well-marked sexual attributes, especially the breasts. They also have coffee-bean shaped eyes, thick eyebrows, arms resting on the body and legs without feet. There have been a lot of theories about the purpose of these figures. Some researchers see them as symbols or lucky charms for fertility. Based on changes in styles and body shapes, like features and representation of the hair, the Italian archaeologist Constanza Di Capua argues that they represent the physiological cycles of women in different stages. The stages go from the nubile, with a lump in the pubic region, no arms, straight trunk and a shaved head; puberty, with partially waxed hair and sublte breasts and arms; adolescence, where the bodies are more developed; to adulthood and pregnancy, with a bulging belly, suggesting pregnancy. According to this researcher, the figures are associated with the female cult that developed in Valdivia society. Along with the urns, they are a testament to how this society empowers the breeders of the group.


  • Title: Female antropomorphic figure "Venus"
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: 40th-5th century B.C
  • Physical Dimensions: w2 x h6.3 x d1.2 cm
  • Period: Formative
  • Culture: Valdivia
  • Type: Ceramic sculpture
  • Rights: MAPI, 2005, MAPI

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