The Venus of Mal'ta


  • Age: Around 21,000 BCE
  • Material: Mammoth ivory tusk
  • Found: Irkutsk Oblast (Siberia)
  • Present Location: Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg (Russia)


move cursor over images to magnify replica

The Mal'ta Venus is one of a series of 30 palaeolithic bone/ivory female figurines, discovered in a cave at Mal'ta, at the Angara River, near Lake Baikal in Irkutsk Oblast, Siberia. The figurines from Siberia are subdivided into 2 groups:

1. Most of the figurines from Siberia are thin and have the long and narrow body proportions, with carved faces and hairs. Some appear to be covered by a fur garment.

2. Other figurines are more of the "European" style, with large and exaggerated body parts, such as large breasts, buttocks and thighs.

The earliest human occupation in this region probably began sometime around 40,000 years ago, when small groups of hunters migrated into this region. The site of Mal'ta is composed of a series of subterranean houses made of mammoth bones and reindeer antler which had likely been covered with animal skins to protect inhabitants from the severe weather.


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