Returned to lender The Met accepts temporary loans of art both for short-term exhibitions and for long-term display in its galleries.

Female Body (Venus of Thiaroye)

Not on view

The earliest societies to prosper in the Sahel were pastoralist communities. Their mobile elites accrued wealth and power in the form of cattle and semiprecious stones and memorialized themselves through the construction of tumuli—mounds for burials or the deposition of possessions. This delicately incised pebble, discovered casually in the vicinity of a dune, appears to have been imbued with symbolic meaning. Only minimal carving of the stone’s natural form was required to transform it into a tribute to procreation.

Female Body (Venus of Thiaroye), Sandstone

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.

Photo: Antoine Tempé