Goddess of Brassempouy
26,000–24,000 BCE
Mammoth Ivory 1.44″ high
Found in 1892 in the Grotte
Du Pape in SW France

brassempouny_smallBrassempouy, commonly referred to as La Dame à la Capuche, is the earliest known realistic representation of a person with facial features. The tiny face is triangular, with an intense stare, pronounced eyebrows, but no mouth. The vertical crack on the right side of her face slashes deep into the ivory. Her headdress could be braided hair, but it could also be a wig or a hood. Scholars wonder if she might have been a portrait.

Musée d’Archaéologie,
Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France


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CLICK HERE to read an essay by Stephanie Grilli, PhD, who places the sculptures in an art historical context.

CLICK HERE for a brief summary of climate conditions during the Ice Age.