Ancient Pagan and Modern Christian Symbolism
by Thomas Inman, M.D. (1874)
Pagan and Christian symbolism
Fig. 1, the cupola, is well known in modern Europe; it is equally so in Hindostan, where it is sometimes accompanied by pillars of a peculiar shape. In one such compound the design is that of a cupola, supported by closely placed pillars, each of which has a "capital," resembling "the glans" of physiologists; in the centre there is a door, wherein a nude female stands, resembling in all respects Figure 61, except in dress and the presence of the child. This was copied by the late Mr. Sellon, from a Buddhist Dagopa in the Jumnar Cave, Bombay Presidency, a tracing of his sketch having been given to me by William Simpson, Esq., London.
The same emblem may be found amongst the ancient Italians.§
§ Whilst I was staying in Malta during the carnival time in 1872, I saw in all directions men and women selling cakes shaped like the yoni shown in Fig. 1. These sweetmeats had no special name, but they came in and went out with the carnival.
Fig. 2 represents Venus standing on a tortoise, whose symbolic import will be seen by referring to Fig. 74, infra. It is copied from Lajard, Sur le Culte de Venus, plate iiia., fig. 5, and is stated by him to be a drawing of an Etruscan candelabrum, existing in the Royal Museum at Berlin.§
§ In his account of Greece, Pausanias mentions that he saw one figure of Venus standing on a tortoise, and another upon a ram, but he declines to give the reason of the conjunction.