Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
A statue is a sculpture depicting a specific entity, usually a person, event, animal or object. Its primary concern is representational. However, as with all artistic topics, this definition of the concept Statue is far from exhaustive and can be/needs to be expanded.
Many statues are built on commission to commemorate a historical event, such as the Battle of Iwo Jima, or the life of an influential person, such as Mahatma Gandhi. Many statues are intended as public art, exhibited outdoors or in public buildings for the edification of passers-by.
A small statue is defined as being a statuette.
Oldest Statue Known To Date
The oldest statue, actually statuette, known to the present day is the L÷wenmensch, or "lion man," statuette. L÷wenmensch is on exhibit at the Ulmer Museum in Germany.
L÷wenmensch's age has been estimated to be somewhere between 30,000 and 40,000 years. L÷wenmensch is about 28 centimeters tall and is made of carved ivory.
However, there is a controversy surrounding L÷wenmensch's appearance. Because L÷wenmensch had to be glued back together from nearly 200 fragments, some argue that they weren't glued back correctly. The researchers who tried to put L÷wenmensch back together in 1939 certainly didn't know as much as we do today.
"Why would L÷wenmensch be standing," some argue, "when so many other examples of lion statues that were created after L÷wenmensch are all seated?" Innumerable Egyptian Sphinxes were all designed seated, for example. Also, L÷wenmensch's backside is missing. Where did it go? And many of the ivory fragments constituting L÷wenmensch's chest, belly and rear torso are all unusually straight, smooth and lacking any fur detailing whatsoever.
The explanation then is that L÷wenmensch was probably originally designed to look something like the Gold Rhyton found in Ecbatana, Persia (or ancient Iran). All of L÷wenmensch's smooth fragments are likely merely pieces of a large drinking cup originally designed to fit on the back side. L÷wenmensch even has some feathers carved in the shoulder area that were probably originally intended to represent wings.
Whatever the original design was, L÷wenmensch is still the oldest statuette known to this present day.
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