Inmyeonjo, the graceful giant human-faced bird that made waves on social media at the Pyeongchang Olympics opening ceremony earlier this month, is freaking out the internet yet again with its return at the closing ceremony Sunday (25 February).
The massive creature whose name literally translates to "human-faced" bird comes from East Asian mythology and Buddhist scripture and often appears in ancient tomb paintings from Korea's Goguryeo era.
Described by Olympics officials as the "legendary bird of peace" and the "mediator between heaven and earth", a puppet of the Inmyeonjo captivated the hearts of millions after appearing during the opening ceremony of the Winter Games on 9 February.
"I got the idea from murals in old Goguryeo tombs," the opening ceremony's executive creative director, Song Seung-whan, said in an earlier press briefing. "Through the scene, I wanted to depict a world where humans live in peaceful harmony with ancient nature and animals."
Since then, the mythical bird has triggered a cacophony of fan art and memes in South Korea and from across the globe. Now, the internet is freaking out yet again after it made another appearance at the Olympics closing ceremony with people still divided over whether the puppet is awe-inspiring or creepy.
"HE'S JUST SO CHARMING," one Twitter user wrote. "That creepy face... that long neck... the wingspan... the regal tail feathers... i love the inmyeonjo."