Ancient Pagan and Modern Christian Symbolism
by Thomas Inman, M.D. (1874)
Pagan and Christian symbolism
Figs. 1 and 4 are illustrations of the antelope as a religious emblem amongst the Assyrians. The first is from Layard's Nineveh, and in it we see carried in one hand a triply branched lotus; the second, showing the regard for the spotted antelope, and for "the branch," is from Bonomi's Nineveh and its Palaces.
Fig. 2 illustrates Bacchus, with a mystic branch in one hand, and a cup in the other; his robe is covered with spots arranged in threes. The branch is emblematic of the arbor vitæ, or tree of life, and its powers of sprouting. Such a symbol is, by outsiders, figured on the houses of newly married couples amongst the Jews of Morocco, and seems to indicate the desire of friends that the man will show that he is vigorous, and able to have many sprouts from the tree of life. It will be noticed that on the fillet round the god's head are arranged many crosses. From Hislop's Two Babylons, and Smith's Dictionary, p. 208.
Figs. 3 and 5 are intended to show the prevalence of the use of spots on priestly dresses; they are copied from Hislop's Two Babylons, and Wilkinson, vol. vi., pi. 88, and vol. iv., pp. 841, 858. For an explanation of the signification of spots, see Plate iv., Fig. 6, infra.