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24 December 2003
Prehistoric 'Venus' carved on cliff in China

A figure of a pregnant woman carved into a cliff, known as a prehistoric oriental "Venus", the Goddess of love, has been discovered by Chinese archaeologists in Zhongwei county, northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region. The "Venus" has a plump figure, full breasts and a bulbous belly. The woman, standing straight with her legs together, has slender fingers but no facial features.
     The image was a typical reproduction of figures of naked women carved on stone by ancients in the late Paleolithic period, said Zhou Xinhua, curator of the museum of the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region. Such stone or cliff carvings are valuable for studying the development process of primitive society, plastic arts and ideology, added Zhang.
     This was the first time that a prehistoric figure of a woman carved on cliff has ever been found in China. Archaeologists said that Beishan Mountain in Zhongwei County, where the image was found, has some 3,000 groups of cliff carvings and over 10,000 carvings of individual figures. Near the Zhongwei county seat, Damaidi area, part of the Beishan Mountain area, is crowded with 1,509 group cliff carvings and over 6,000 individual figures carved into a cliff.
     These cliff carvings contain images of the sun, the moon, rivers, mountain stones and also images of sheep, horses, oxen, deer, tigers, swords and axes. They also have images of men and women, hunters and warriors.

Source: People's Daily (22 December 2003)

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