These figures reproduce the female body and are found in abundance among the remains of the Valdivia culture, suggesting that its inhabitants developed some type of ritual related to fertility in which the Venuses played a transitory role.
Their forms varied according to the passage of time. Earlier Venuses emphasized detail, later ones lost expression and smallness, actually becoming cruder. A good number of them exhibit hairstyles in a multitude of forms. Many of them appear pregnant, with holes in the centers of their bellies and some object inside that hits the walls of the pieces when moved, while others have prominent busts and buttocks showing pubic hair. They were made by making a cylindrical form which was then given arms and an opening to suggest legs.
You can view this piece and more like it in our Quito Museum. Purchase your own unique Ecuadorian art in one of our 5 shops in mainland Ecuador and the Galapagos during your next Ecuador tour. If you are interested in learning more about Ecuadorian culture and the history of Ecuador, please visit our Art in Ecuador page for many great articles about each region’s artisans and arts.