The Rites of Dionysus

From the first time I saw this back in 2006 I have been somewhat underwhelmed by it. Situated in the Mediterranean biome at the Eden Project, the ‘Rites of Dionysus’ is a sculpture by Tim Shaw, a sculptor from Cornwall who was born in Belfast. The installation draws inspiration from the accounts of the Bacchanal – of women who roamed mountains in a trance and at the height of ecstasy seized an animal, tore it apart and ate it raw.

Dionysus, Greek god of the vines, is a creature of mystery. Here depicted as a bull.

The Maenads, who were followers of Dionysus, dance and writhe through the vines beating drums and sounding horns.  The Dionysus myths give us an insight into one of the oldest civilisations and also tell us something about mankind and its unchanging nature. Madness, sacrifice and death echoing the mayhem and breakdown of civil order when war rips through a country.

Dionysus started out as the god of vegetation and good intentions. However things  changed when he changed from growing the vine to drinking its fermented juices!

It’s possible to go too far
It’s possible to regain the balance.
People can change things for the better.

On this visit with the grape vines in growth I actually enjoyed the installation.

Source: Information plaques in the biome

~wander.essence~ | photography


  1. What an installation, Jude! How bizarre is the story that accompanies it too, especially about the women who tore apart animals and ate them raw! It’s aptly set in a vineyard, making the story resonate with the viewer. Isn’t it amazing what people create?

    Thanks so much for sharing this. I’m so happy to link it to the next photo invitation. Sorry about the delay in response. I was on the go yesterday from 7:00 am to 11:15 pm; I went to visit Adam in a quite secluded but unusual place where he is WOOFing! Very unusual place!

    1. Heyjude says:

      No worries Cathy, I wasn’t expecting any response for a while as I know you are travelling. Back now? Or soon?

      1. I’m on my way home now, Jude. Drove 10 hours today from Pueblo, Colorado to Kansas City, Missouri. I’m exhausted but still have two more long days of driving.

  2. Lucid Gypsy says:

    It’s a bit of a jumble isn’t it? I remember not being very keen at the time but I couldn’t pinpoint why.

Comments are closed.