Unique Stone Age Venus goes on display in Ostrava

The Venus of Petřkovice

The Venus of Petřkovice, a statuette from the late Stone Age period believed to be 23,000 years old is currently being exhibited at the site where it was first discovered in the Ostrava district of Petřkovice 70 years ago. The unique item, which is the only “slender Venus” ever discovered in Europe, will be on display until Sunday.

Along with the clay statue of the Venus of Věstonice, the Petřkovice Venus is considered one of Czechia’s most unique examples of prehistoric art. The headless female torso was carved from hematite during the Upper Palaeolithic period. However, its age is not the only thing that makes it so special, explains Ján Hlobil from the Mining Museum in Landek Park in Ostrava:

“It is unique above all because it is the only slender Venus found in Europe. It is 4.6 centimetres tall and represents a young woman who was probably in the early stages of pregnancy.

“The statuette was discovered in July 14, 1953 during archaeological research initiated by the Institute of Archaeology of the Academy of Sciences and led by Mr. Bohuslav Klíma.”

Upon its discovery, archaeologists thought the head of the statue had broken off. Only later did they discover from the shape of the material that it was most likely the artist’s intention.

Venus of Věstonice | Photo: Filip Jandourek,  Czech Radio

The exhibition in the Mining Museum in Landek Park marks 70 years since the anniversary of the unique archaeological discovery. The Venus of Landek, as it is also referred to, was lent to the museum by the Brno Institute of Archaeology, where it is deposited, says Ján Hlobil:

“To be honest, when I first approached the director of the Archaeological Institute, I was afraid it wouldn’t work out. We started negotiating the loan already in late February this year. But I think they realised that the 70th anniversary of its discovery justified our request.”

The valuable statuette was transported from Brno to Ostrava under strict security measures. Mr. Hlobil personally carried the Venus in his car:

“The Petřkovice Venus has been on display in the memorial hall of the Mining Museum since 9 o’clock this morning. It is displayed under tightened security regime and is looked after by security guards.”

The exhibition is part of a larger event hosted by Ostrava this weekend – the 27th annual meeting of mining towns and municipalities. It also marks 30 years since the opening of the Mining Museum in Landek Park and Mr Hlobil says they are expecting a large visitor turnout.

The Venus of Petřkovice was first displayed in Ostrava in 2022 for just one day, attracting over 4,000 visitors. It was last showcased in the Moravian-Silesian capital six years ago. The current exhibition in the Mining Museum in Landek Park will run until Sunday evening.