World’s oldest ceramic statuette attracts thousands of art lovers

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Some 20,000 people came to see the nearly 30,000-year-old Venus of Dolní Věstonice, the world’s oldest known ceramic statuette, during a 12-day exhibition at the Regional Museum in Olomouc.

The statuette, which depicts a female body, was on display from Nov. 27 to Dec. 8.

According to Břetislav Holásek, the director of the Regional Museum in Olomouc, the number of visitors interested in seeing the statuette was immense throughout the entire exhibition, which prompted the museum to extend its opening hours.

The exhibition was popular among a wide range of age groups, from children to pensioners, said Holásek who added that many foreigners also arrived.

Due to exceptional interest among visitors, lines to see the statuette were forcing visitors to wait for up to an hour and a half.

After the exhibition concluded on Dec. 9, security moved the statuette from the security showcase of the Olomouc Museum to a portable bulletproof box and transported the famous work of art back to Moravian Museum in Brno under armed escort.

Due to the value and rarity of the statuette, the Venus of Dolní Věstonice is not exhibited more than once every five years.

The approximately 25,000- to 29,000-year-old statuette represents the oldest known use of clay, and thus possible evidence of the beginnings of ceramic art. A team of scientists led by Karel Absolon found the statuette in 1925, and the artifact soon became a world sensation.

At the end of January, the Regional Museum in Olomouc will display another archaeologically unique artifact, the marlstone head of the Kelt from Mšecké Žehrovice, which probably dates back to the third century BC.

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