17 November 2007

The caves of Balzi Rossi - 5

We've passed the sandy entrance to the cave now. Here's where you climb in to a deep dark scary place. As I wrote in 'Postcards from Pension Milou' I didn't have a torch or a dog to protect me from the ghosts of the prehistoric creatures, so I bottled out...

Between 1883 and 1895, Louis Alexandre Jullien discovered fifteen figurines at the Balzi Rossi. This is the largest series ever found in one place in Western Europe, and the pieces can be traced back to the Gravettian chronology and culture. Seven of the figurines were displayed in an exhibition at the Canadian Museum of Civilization (Ottawa) in 1995. 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.

There's more - come back tomorrow and don't forget to join me for 'A Night out in Monte Carlo' which started yesterday and will continue for several more days.


  1. I guess they liked their women well endowed! :-D

  2. I've often wondered about the fleshiness of those figurines. Perhaps it was for the wonderful rich feel of them in your hands - or perhaps it was reverence for readily available food. The women figurines have always made me happy when I see them, for both of those reasons.

    I like being poised here at the entrance, imagining those figurines once being found inside.

  3. Signs of life from years gone by, abound this planet. In this day and age, we have photos of our loved ones. Maybe these figurines were a sort of "photo" of family members. Cave man porn? I'm just kidding on that, but it came to mind, so I said it. I'm wondering if they were used in some sort of fertility ritual. I love caves - Mother Nature's first forms of shelter.

  4. This is really fascinating. Glad I got on your tour.
    --steve buser
    New Orleans Daily Photo

  5. A great tour. You're always giving us more reasons to return to Menton. I hope others are also reading your writing blog about the caves.

  6. I had always understood that the overly emphasized female form had something to do with a celebration of fertility. The ultimate Motherhood symbol, life goes on and all that. Neat to see them, that is for sure. And what wild looking caves! But forgive me, what does 'bottled out' mean?
    Thanks again for taking us on tour with you. I am off to Monte Carlo now.

  7. Message to Me - my slangy English. Bottled out means 'chickened out, scared, opting out of doing something because of fear.'

    I'll write better English next time!

  8. A simpler explanation would be 'lacked courage.'

  9. i would have been very unpopular - I'm built for speed not comfort!!!

  10. This is really fascinating. Glad I got on your tour.

    Get More Details


Related Posts with Thumbnails