The Venus of Malta (one of several)

National Museum of Archaeology, Valletta (the capital of Malta).

The museum’s description: The Venus of Malta, from Hagar Qim, is a remarkable representation which reflects a high level of artistic achievements in modeling. In particular, the back of this figurine reflects a very realistic rendering of anatomical features.

The seated figure from Tarxien as well as the fragment from the Hypogeum, reflect a departure from conventional representations that followed established cannons with the use of more realistic compositions.

From the Heritage Malta site: The temple of Hagar Qim, excavated for the first time in 1839, dates from the Tarxien phase (c3200-2500 BC). It stands on a hilltop overlooking the sea and the islet of Fifla and lies some 2km south-west of the village of Qrendi. Adjacent to Hagar Qim, further towards the cliff face, lies another remarkable temple site, Mnajdra. The surrounding area, which is typical of Mediterranean garrigue and spectacular in its starkness and isolation, is designated a Heritage Park.

Much of interest has been unearthed at Hagar Qim, notably a decorated pillar altar, two table-altars and some of the `fat lady’ statues on display in the National Museum of Archaeology, Valletta.

Hagar Qim itself consists of a single temple unit. However, it is not clear if it was constructed as a four- or five-apse structure. Another aspect of Hagar Qim is the small, three-apse structure near the temple which may have been the quarters of the temple’s priest or shaman. Other temple ruins stand a few meters away from the main temple.

October 2005