Ancient Pagan and Modern Christian Symbolism
by Thomas Inman, M.D. (1874)
Pagan and Christian symbolism
Figure 88 is copied from Hyslop, who gives it on the authority of Col. Hamilton Smith, who copied it from the original collection made by the artists of the French Institute of Cairo. It is said to represent Osiris, but this is doubtful. There is much that is intensely mystical about the figure. The whip, or flagellum, placed over the tail, and the head passing through the yoni, the circular spots with their central dot, the horns with solar disc, and two curiously shaped feathers (?), the calf reclining upon a plinth, wherein a division into three is conspicuous, all have a meaning in reference to the mystic four.
I have long had a doubt respecting the symbolic meaning of the scourge. Some inquirers have asserted that it is simply an emblem of power or superiority, inasmuch as he who can castigate must be in a higher position than the one who is punished. But of this view I can find no proof. On the other hand, any one who is familiar with the effect upon the male produced by flagellation, and who notices that the representations of Osiris and the scourge show evidence that the deity is in the same condition as one who has been subjected to the rod, will be disposed to believe that the flagellum is an indication or symbol of the god who gives to man the power to reproduce his like, or who can restore the faculty after it has faded. It is not for a moment to be supposed that a deity who was to be worshipped would be depicted as a task-master, whose hands are more familiar with punishment than blessing.