On September 27, Kidrobot dives helmet-first into the deep waters of world mythology with the Spiritus Dea 3-inch Dunny Mini Series. Spiritus Dea – “spirit of the goddess” in Latin – unites 12 different female artists and goddesses under one common theme: the rebirth of justice, organized into four categories – Cosmos, Life, Nature, and Death.
PART ONE: COSMOS
Since ancient times, across all cultures and regions of the world, human history has surged with an innate desire to explain and understand our existence on this planet. A desire which serves as the basis for countless mythologies, origin stories, and folkloric tales that are often as complicated, engaging, and weird as life itself.
In early mythologies, creation stories frequently involve the heavens, or the cosmos, and a divine figure that arises from the chaos of a timeless, formless void (such as a cosmic egg) to proceed with creating order. Enter the “Cosmos” goddesses of the Spiritus Dea series:
Nyx is the Greek goddess of the night, daughter of Chaos. She is one of the primordial gods, rising near the beginning of time and with her siblings Gaia (the Earth), Erebus (the darkness) and Tartarus (the underworld), formed the universe and everything within it. Nyx is not only one of the most beautiful goddesses, but also one of the most powerful. Feared by men and gods alike, she can be either harmful or helpful to mankind, bringing either peaceful slumber or the blackest death. She is, notoriously, the only goddess ever to be feared by Zeus, the king of the gods of Mount Olympus.
When choosing which goddess to design for the Spiritus Dea series, artist Lisa Toms chose to put a spotlight on Nyx, who she felt had been unjustly vilified due to striking fear into the hearts of men and therefore swept aside and forgotten by time.
“I thought Nyx needed some justice,” Toms explains, “and that she had to have some visibility and be included in the goddess series. But instead of remembering her for her dark side, I thought I could show her as more of a peaceful and calm being, which is what night represents to me. We should remember that we wouldn’t have day without night and that darkness precedes light. Nyx is the perfect personification of woman empowerment.”
On the figure:
This translucent 3-inch Nyx Dunny perfectly represents the calm of night. With a waning crescent moon headband and eyes gently closed, inviting slumber, she is the image of tranquility. Her body, with delicately painted stars and filled with glitter, is wrapped in a classic Greek toga and sparkles in the light. It’s a piece destined to become a Dunny collector favorite.
Chang’e is the Chinese goddess of the moon with several fascinating versions to her origin story. In most of them, the world is described as a miserable place where ten suns are scorching the lands, preventing the cultivation of crops. When Chang’e’s husband, a skilled archer named Hou Yi, shoots down nine of the ten suns, he is awarded with an elixir of immortality by the goddess Xiwangmu. Refusing immortality without Chang’e by his side, Hou Yi hides the elixir away.
The myths vary but in one popular version, Chang’e is eventually put in the position of having to drink her husband’s elixir to prevent a thief from gaining access to it. Upon drinking it, Chang’e floats away from the Earth and into the heavens where she ultimately settles into a life in a palace on the moon, earning a prominent place in Chinese folklore and culture. She is the focus of China’s annual Mid-Autumn Festival where friends and family gather to eat moon cakes and gaze into the cosmos, hoping to steal a glance of the goddess or the rabbit companion that folklore indicates lives with her.
On choosing which goddess to design for the Spiritus Dea series, artist MJ Hsu says “I wanted to design Change’e because the moon inspires stories and art across all cultures and also has a special place in Chinese mythology and way of life. When I was a child, during annual the Mid-Autumn Festival, my family and friends would gather together for an amazing feast. I have so many happy memories with my loved ones, laughing together and eating moon cakes during this time. Although we don’t actually worship the moon, the stories and iconography of Chang’e were fun and made the holiday all the more festive. Most of my past work involves “daylight” themes and bright colors, but I have recently been creating custom toys that explore the transition between night and day.”
On the figure:
This 3-inch Chang’e Dunny comes with a slip-on rabbit mask (a nod to her moon companion) that fits snugly over her face, allowing her large, peaceful eyes to shine through. Her body purple, suggestive of the darkest night, and is sprinkled with stars which co-mingle with ocean waves on the lower portion of her body.
The goddess Tiamat is the epitome of the ambiguous, multi-threaded creation mythos – frequently represented by everything from dragons to serpents to a body of saltwater. Scholars have generally settled on two main analyses of the Tiamat myth – one holding her up as a creator goddess born of a union between fresh and saltwater while another presents her as the monstrous embodiment of primordial chaos. Whatever the case, she is ultimately pitted against Marduk, who splits her in half with an arrow and inadvertently creates the heavens and earth from her body, simultaneously spawning an enduring creation myth as well as hundreds of years of controversy for scholars of myth. The core of the argument is that Marduk’s slaying of Tiamat marked a shift in power from a matriarchal society to a patriarchy. And along with this, once peaceful woman-centered religions turned their female representatives into violent monsters. This is a much-debated theory but one that is interesting nonetheless, and demands mentioning in advance of releasing a goddess mini-series.
On choosing which goddess to design for the Spiritus Dea series, artist Laura Colors says “I focused on the chaos aspect (of Tiamat) because I feel like we’re living in a very stormy and chaotic time. My Tiamat Dunny is a play on that theme.”
On the figure:
As you might expect with a goddess figure meant to represent chaos, there are a lot of interesting details to absorb on this 3” Tiamat Dunny. With lightning bolts affixed to her hands and storm clouds on her head, this is one adorably menacing Dunny. And when you take a closer look, you’ll find such ominous words as “chaos” and “doom” scrawled onto her, in addition to a pair of dice showing snake eyes – indicative of bad luck and/or chaos.
The Spiritus Dea 3” Dunny Mini Series drops on September 27th at 10am MT. But first, check back on the blog on Thursday, September 19th, to read about the goddesses in the “Life” category.