Station: [210] The Zschernitz Adonis

This clay figurine is the most unique art work from the Linear Pottery culture period to have been found in Saxony to date. It is clearly a model of a male torso with genitals. The figurine leans slightly forward and the upper thigh muscles are realistically modelled.  It was found in 2003 in the course of an excavation to the north of Leipzig, and was called the Zschernitz Adonis after the site. 

This male figure is unique because most of the Linear Pottery culture figurines that have been discovered are female representations. Have a look at  the Zauschwitz Venus in the single showcase at the front of this room.  Linear Pottery culture figurines were all modelled individually whereas the later phase of Stroke-ornamented Pottery culture figurines consist primarily of stylised female forms. Buttocks and breasts are emphasised, and the arms are shown raised in prayer in the ‘orante’ position.  They may point to a fertility cult. The figurines are also described as idols.

On the display wall to your right you will see a number of other figurines. They are in fragments, because these items are never found intact.  Were these idols deliberately smashed, prior to being deposited in rubbish pits?

The display wall on your left shows human and animal combinations, vessels in animal shapes and fragments of clay that appear to be the remains of altars.  Like the idols, animals, and vessels, these items are mostly decorated with ornaments, involving scratched or indented strips and signs, which are sometimes filled with a white or red mineral paste.

Unlike the Palaeolithic and Mesolithic ages, we have no figurative images from the early Neolithic period. As far as we know from the finds, the Linear Pottery culture people only produced figurative shapes in clay. Our experience with the well however has shown us that they could have made figurines out of wood, for instance, although as a rule, these items have not been preserved. Have a look at the object that was found in the well at Eythra; it is displayed in a showcase near the pottery deposit. It’s a strip of Maplewood filigree with a pattern of pokerwork triangles. The decoration and tapering end are reminiscent of a snake.