This statuette was discovered in 1894 by Edouard Piette and Joseph de Laporterie at the cave of the Pope, Brassempouy (Landes), probably in a layer attributable to the Périgordian Superior; it can be dated from around 23,000 BC.
Called "Lady with the Hood" or "Lady of Brassempouy", it is the most famous of the works of Palaeolithic art, as well as the most moving, because it brings us the most real and lively image of the Palaeolithic woman.
In this face of more or less triangular shape, the forehead, eyebrows, nose and chin have a relief close to that of today's faces; the mouth is absent; as for the eyes, we can only see the pupil, clearly represented, at least for the right eye; but it is the harmonious and somewhat enigmatic whole of this face that attracts us irresistibly.
The "Lady" wears a hairstyle that is perhaps just hair; it frames the face and falls elegantly on either side of the neck, without reaching the level of the shoulders.
It is represented by a grid made up of deep vertical incisions crossed by less strongly supported horizontal incisions; a grid of the same kind is found on Grimaldi's "Negroid Head", but it differs profoundly from the representation of statuette hairstyles in Central Europe (Willendorf) and Eastern Europe (Kostenki).
Reproduction in patinated resin
Dimensions with base:
Height: 6 cm including 3 cm of base
Width: 3 cm
Depth: 3 cm
Period: About 2300 BC, Upper Palaeolithic, Gravettien, Périgordian
Museum: Saint-Germain-en-Laye - National Archaeological Museum
Base material: varnished solid wood