"The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune" from Shakespeare's Hamlet, 1603
I stitched Tyche And Her Wheel in a modified mosaic style, using lines as well as square shapes. I was originally going to title this piece Fortuna And Her Wheel, but I changed it to the lesser known Greek version of the goddess. I also created my own idea of the wheel: it contains both the color scheme and images of vessels from ancient Greece, with depictions of a cornucopia, a hammer, a house, a bomb, a crutch, and a dollar sign. The image of Tyche is based on a figure in a French painting from 1605 by Thomas Artus.
Quoting E.S. Whittlesey from Symbols and Legends in Western Art, the goddess is shown with "a wheel as an emblem of chance, the turning of the year, the juggler of fortune... on some she heaped gifts from a horn of plenty, others she deprived of all they had; her overwhelming aspect was her uncertainty."
Although this piece is mainly influenced by Western mythology, its theme also relates to the wheel of Samsara from Eastern philosophy. In Buddhism, saṃsāra is the suffering-laden cycle of life, death, and rebirth, without beginning or end. It is often depicted as a circle divided like a pie into six realms.
I added other elements that represent both the impermanence and transcendence of mundane human experience: the goddess stands in front of the Tree of Life, holding an hour glass and preparing to spin her wheel, on which a bennu bird -an ancient Egyptian deity linked with the sun, creation, and rebirth - perches. This bird may have been the inspiration for the iconic phoenix that rises from the ashes, symbolizing resurrection and immortality.