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The Lady of Brassempouy

REF RF004003 EAN 3336727444832

 The Lady of Brassempouy

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The Lady of Brassempouy

This ivory statuette was discovered in 1894 by Edouard Piette and Joseph de Laporterie in the Grotte du Pape, Brassempouy (Landes), probably in a layer that can be attributed to the Upper Perigordian period; it can be dated to around 23000 B.C.

Known as "The Lady with the Hood" or "The Lady of Brassempouy", this is the most famous statuette of Palaeolithic art. One of the reasons why it is so moving is because it conveys the most realistic and lively image of Palaeolithic woman.

In this more or less triangular face, the contours of the forehead, eyebrows, nose and chin are similar to those of modern faces. The mouth is absent. As for the eyes, only the pupils can be seen, portrayed in a clear way, at least in the case of the right eye. However, it is the general effect of this face, harmonious and yet a little mysterious, that is so irresistibly attractive.

The "Lady" is wearing a head-dress that may in fact be her hair. It frames the face and falls elegantly on each side of her neck, without reaching the shoulders. It is represented by a square pattern of deep vertical incisions cut across by shallower horizontal incisions, similar to the "Negroid Head" of Grimaldi. However it is very different from the hairstyles of the statuettes from Central Europe (Willendorf) and Eastern Europe (Kostenki).

Reproduction in hand patinated resin

H. 6,5 L. 3 P. 3 cm
H. 5.56" W. 1.18" D. 1.18" - 0.2 lbs
Brassempouy, Landes
Material of the original
Mammoth Ivory
Circa 2300 B.C.
Saint-Germain-en-Laye - Musée d'Archéologie nationale
Art movement