Pigment decoration of palaeolithic anthropomorphous figurines from Siberia

L. V. Lbova, P. V. Volkov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Microscopic research of samples taken from anthropomorphous sculptures that were discovered at the Upper Palaeolithic site of Mal'ta (19-23 ka BP) in southern Siberia provide new information on the decoration of the so-called 'Palaeolithic Venuses'. The article enumerates the technological stages of making the objects, including the initial stage of ivory processing, creating the blanks of the sculptures, modelling their main features, and focuses on the stage of decoration and final treatment of the objects. Typically applied sets of tools are identified for each stage of processing. Special attention is paid to the details of figurine decoration: ornamentation, engraving, detailing of 'clothing' and accessories, and colouring. Decoration was applied using a standard set of techniques and involved typical elements of ornamentation and combinations of elements, as well as specific areas of ornamentation and colouring. Additional decoration of anthropomorphous figurines in Mal'ta was made using pigments (red, green and blue) on some objects. Traces of pigments were identified using an Altami microscope and Bruker M1 Mistral spectrometer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-178
Number of pages10
JournalRock Art Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2017


  • Decoration
  • Figurine
  • Mal'ta
  • Pigment
  • Siberia
  • Upper palaeolithic


  • 6.04.BP ART


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