The Dionysian Universe

“We have long since noticed that, in the procession of the gods on the François vase, Dionysus assumes a different pose from the other gods. While the latter are shown in profile, he is the only one who turns his terrible face with is large eyes directly at the viewer. This remarkable peculiarity, however, is usually explained by the fact that primitive man and his successors preferred to present Dionysus in the mask. It would be much closer to the truth to say, vice versa, that Dionysus was presented in the mask because he was known as the god of confrontation. It is the god of the most immediate presence who looks at us so penetratingly from the vase painting. Because it is his nature to appear suddenly and with overwhelming might before mankind, the mask serves as his symbol and his incarnation in cult.”

― “The Symbol of the Mask” by Walter F. Otto in “DINONYSUS Myth and Cult”

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