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Artemis Brauronia, or Artemis as She was worshipped at Her sanctuary in Brauron, Greece, is the protectress of young animals and children. She was honored with rites in the springtime there; She had another sanctuary on the Akropolis in Athens. She was associated with bears, as the bear is the woodland wild animal par excellence. Little girls between the ages of seven and ten called arktoi ('bears') danced to Her in imitation of bears, wearing saffron-colored robes.

She is shown here as a girl, in the saffron robes of Her little acolytes, holding a brown bear cub. The pose is taken from votive statues of young girls found at Brauron; the statuettes commonly show the girls holding first fruits or animals such as rabbits in the lifted overfold of their peploi. Springtime flowers and twining new shoots are depicted on Her skirt; behind Her are willow branches and an old laurel tree sprouting anew with the spring, as spring is at once ancient and new. Both trees are sacred to Her.

This was a bit of a technical experiment; I did the pencil sketch but didn't like how it looked once I transferred it to the watercolor paper proper, so I scanned it in and added the color digitally, using watercolor textures I painted then also scanned in.



This design is available on prints through deviantArt and greeting cards through Zazzle.