Atargatis, often portrayed as Mermaid is a Syrian Goddess of the Sea.
Her cult was known as the Goddess of Fertility and Motherhood. She was a beloved Goddess in Syria, but her worship spread to Greece and Rome. She was popular in within common people and her sanctuaries were centered on fish-filled ponds.
Although Atargatis wanted to serve mostly the needy and poor, her fundamental place of worship was situated in the impressive rock-cut city of Petra where she attracted much wealthier multitude of faithful followers. The rich and the poor came to ask for healing of sick children, and also brought healthy children to ask the goddess for protection over them.
The legend of Atargatis tells a story of a Goddess who plunge herself into the Sea to protect the fish and other sea animals which she regarded as sacred creatures. This is when she was transformed into a mermaid to remain forever as the guardian of the Sea. The Sea is a symbol of human existence and vulnerable creatures of its depths - are her beloved people. With this gesture, she became symbol of motherly protection for the meek and underprivileged.
The presence of Atargatis is believed to help overcome troubles of motherhood and free mothers of worries regarding the future of their children.
Atargatis stands 20” tall and is all hand crafted, without using any paints or glue. The torso is made of thick linen and the fish tail is made of shiny fabric and stuffed with fiber filling. A trim made of sparkly yarn is crocheted all around the tail. I also added crochet-curves; ornaments intertwined with pearly beads to complete the mermaid’s tail. From the waist up, this doll is made of pale thick linen, stuffed with poly-fiber filling and covered with golden crocheted body-suit. The face is needle-sculpted, with the eyes and lips hand-embroidered with crochet-threads. The hair is made of various shades of sparkly black and green yarn. All of her hair strands are individually crochet-chains braided onto the crochet base (no bald spots) and sewn onto the head. Some strands are ended with the pearl-beads. The ornament on the top of her head is cut from embroidered ribbon and accented with crochet-chains. She wears a sleeveless waistcoat of the same fabric as the tail and the waistband of shiny embroidered ribbon. She sports a necklace with the fish pendant as a symbol of her love for sea animals. Her arms are covered with golden crochet netting; she wears a bracelet and beaded chain with natural shell. She stands on the wooden doll-stand decorated with natural sea-shells and comes with 2-sided index card explaining her meaning.
This doll is rather meant for decorative purpose (not as a toy,) however she is sturdily made and doesn’t contain items that would easily come off.
Atargatis was created in September 2011.
The character-story posted above is composed by me. It is a compendium of information based on books: “Goddesses and Heroines” by Patricia Monaghan, “Invoke the Goddess” by Carla Trobe, “Goddesses and Angles” by Doreen Virtue. I also used Encyclopedias: Compton, Britannica and online articles. In addition I have reached deep into my memory, recalling folk-tales and legends my grandfather (a Polish country-poet and librarian) once told me.
For the body I used a modified version of the doll-pattern from the book “Cloth Doll Artistry” by Barbara Willis. For face-sculpting, I used technique from the book “Cloth Dolls” by Brenda Brightmore. The fish-tail is my modified version of the pattern I saw in the book “Teach Yourself Cloth Dollmaking” by Jodie Davis.
The wardrobe ideas came from illustrations included in several books “History of Costume Series – Paper Dolls” by Tom Tierney.
The Index-Card illustrations and the Certificate of Authenticity are collages created by me on Photoshop; using my own photographs and drawings.
Atargatis - Syrian Mermaid-Goddess of Compassion, Motherhood and Happy Home
- Handmade item
- Dimensions: 20 inches
- Materials: Pale Color Linen, Polyester Stuffing, Black Wool for Hair, Various Color Yarns, Embroidery Threads, Silky Print Fabric, Pearly Beads, Natural Shells, Fish Pendant, Crochet Wardrobe Parts, Embroidery Lace, Cloth Statue, Wooden Stand
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