Ancient Pagan and Modern Christian Symbolism
by Thomas Inman, M.D. (1874)
Pagan and Christian symbolism
Figure 7 is from Bonomi, page 292, Nineveh and its Palaces (London, 1865). It apparently represents the mystic yoni, door, or delta; and it may be regarded as an earlier form of the framework in Plate iv. It will be remarked, by those learned in symbols, that the outline of the hands of the priests who are nearest to the figure is a suggestive one, being analogous to the figure of a key and its shank, whilst those who stand behind these officers present the pine cone and bag, symbolic of Ann, Hea, and their residence.
It is to be noticed, and once for all let us assert our belief, that every detail in a sculpture relating to religion has a signification; that the first right hand figure carries a peculiarly shaped staff; and that the winged symbol above the yoni consists of a male archer in a winged circle, analagous to the symbolic bow, arrow, and target. The bow was an emblem amongst the Romans, and arcum tendere was equivalent to arrigere. In the Golden Ass of Apuleius we find the metaphor used in his account of his dealings with amorous frolicsome Fotis, "Ubi primam sagittam sævi cupidinis in ima procordia mea delapsam excepi, arcum, meum et ipse vigore tetendi."
Again, we find in Petronius—
Astra igitur mea mens arcum dum tendit in ilia.
Ex imo ad summum viva sagitta volat.