Where are the men?

The faceless paleolithic female figurines found across ancient Eurasia are some of the oldest drawings and carvings of the “human” figure we have, which give us a taste of more possibilities for embodiment.

Yoni Lingam/Venus Penis/Phallus Chalice

For more than ten thousand years people were carving naked women onto phallic stones. This is who we were, as a people, for thousands of years.

There were no male figurines.

Where are the men?

A solid mystery. Marija Gimbutas argues that the omission of male icons is evidence for a “civilization of the goddess” and early monotheism. People would wear these around their necks as pendants (even sympathetic magic amulets). She says the goddess icon was a unifier, an agent of culture, who kept the peace, birthed the people, and helped us survive for tens of thousands of years. Technically this “civilization of the Goddess” is the longest-lasting recorded civilization on the planet.

Art historian Marilyn Stokstad also noticed that the use of the female stone icons rose whenever climate conditions were most brutal. Stokstad suggests that these icons would have drawn strangers together–neighbors who would want to examine the other’s “creator” pendant around the neck, facilitating close contact, building trust. “An invitation to love.”

Why are they faceless?

The short film/performance art American Reflexxx illustrates how dangerous it is to be a faceless woman in America. Why are these figurines faceless?

It could be because they were impersonal, pre-personal erotic objects, fetishes, or because they were meant to point to spiritual qualities, like Brancusi's egg-heads and eyeballs, or they were faceless because they were self-portraits. This was before we had mirrors. These tiny carvings were likely made by pregnant mothers who were carving themselves from their own perspective to give to their children, just in case something happened. This way, the child would know where they came from. (This idea is put forth by Art Professor Leroy McDermott.)

Pre-Men

The omission of male representation could also be because paleolithic people didn’t know about paternity yet, a knowledge most likely gained in Egypt and elsewhere with the domestication of animals (see Gordon and Schwabe). Can you imagine what it was like living in bodies that didn’t know about paternity? For thousands of years, childbirth was all her. People had sex, sure, but the role of semen was unknown.

There were no fathers: we were all variations of the Mother. Her body was seen as sole creator of male and female, Creatrix. Because we observed male and female (and intersex) bodies come from the female body, her body must somehow contain all of them. And we can see suggestions of penises in these sculptures! (Interestingly, all humans go through a stage where they are females. The seam that runs down the scrotum formed when the proto-vagina closed and fused in the womb).

A circle within two cones

We can read more than just the implicit phalluses within the goddess figurines. Jack Kunz’s geometrical analysis of the statues has them telling a story about the body existing between two singularities–where two contrapuntal cones meet. We exist between two points, twin peaks, that lead outside time and space altogether.

There is a circle within two cones, heaven and earth joining inside the belly. The egg-like shape and resemblance to the omphalos tells another story altogether. Is this also a baby? What is a vessel?

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David Titterington

David Titterington

Painter

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