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The Diver: a suggestion

This is a painting which originally decorated the underside of the roof of a Greek sarcophagus. It was discovered at Paestum, in Campania, in Italy south of Naples. It dates from the fifth century BC [I think ].

 

Most classical scholars believe that the figure diving into the water is diving into the afterworld. I think that the water is a metaphor for the journey to the spirit world [as per David Lewis-Williams’s writings: see Rock Art Research Institute: Johannesburg] , or the Red Sea and the Jordan in Old Testament stories].  The trees and and the diving board may be a  clue, as the form of the drawing emulates visual hallucinations often seen in trance, meditation or  hypnosis.

 

Have a look at my CAJ article and  then look at this. Don’t you think the diving board is a great case of tessellopsia? And the trees – which don’t resemble the kind of trees you find in that part of Italy – look like dendropsia… 

 

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