More about Balzi Rossi
With the exception of The Mask, all of these carvings can be seen as variations on the Palaeolithic Venus, a model that we now recognize as fundamental to the artistic repertoire of the Eurasian Upper Palaeolithic. Research shows that this model occurs, with regional variations, in many places in Western Europe, Central Europe (the Czech Republic and Slovakia, for example), Eastern Europe (Ukraine and the Russian plain) and even in the Lake Baykal region of Siberia.
In most cases, the figurines are miniature sculptures of well-rounded female nudes, fashioned - depending on the region - from ivory, antler or soft stone, and sometimes even clay, which was later fired. The treatment seems to have followed certain rules, the most obvious being an overemphasis of the fleshy parts of the body (buttocks, stomach and chest) and, at times, an explicit portrayal of various sexual attributes.
These and other finds (including the reproduction of the beautiful real-life figure of a horse from the cavern del Caviglione) are on view in the Museo Nazionale dei Balzi Rossi open 9-13, 14,30-19,30 (closed Mondays). Guided tours of the caves every 3/4 of an hour, weather conditions permitting.