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The Warsaw Voice » Culture » January 9, 2008
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Man and Woman Through History
January 9, 2008 By M.H.    
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An archaeological exhibition at the Silesian Museum in Katowice shows men's and women's different social roles in prehistoric times. Entitled A World of Women, A World of Men, the display contains more than 350 exhibits from the Paleolithic period to the 15th century and is supplemented by many photographs.

The exhibition shows that the division into the world of men and the world of women has existed since the beginning of time, with specific jobs and behaviors assigned to one or other sex.

The woman was always seen above all in her role as mother and carer of the family. The exhibition features copies of figurines from 30,000-20,000 BC associated with the cult of fertility.

Women did housekeeping chores such as cooking, cleaning, weaving and sewing. How this was done can be seen from the fragments of ceramic dishes, weaving weights and needles displayed at the museum. At various periods in history female accouterments included numerous pieces of jewelry, bronze and iron clasps, gold pendants and bone beads. The exhibition also showcases fragments of bone combs found in women's graves.

The man as the head of family was responsible for ensuring a good standard of living for the family and security. In prehistoric times it was his duty to hunt for food. Men were also involved in various crafts. They were shoemakers, miners, foundry workers, traders, and first and foremost hunters and guardians of the home and family.

Men were frequently associated with weaponry. It determined the position and social status of its owner and was a symbol of power. There are flint blades, spearheads, hatchets and later bronze and iron spears, swords, daggers, battle-axes, and many other weapons on display at the exhibition.

The men's and women's worlds were also divided after death, with differences in funeral rites and in how men's and women's bodies were placed in graves and how the graves were decorated.

Katowice, Silesian Museum, 3 Wojciecha Korfantego Ave., until the end of January.
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