Friday, June 19, 2009

Tombstone Art and Symbols

I attended a class on "Tombstone Art" this afternoon. Our instructor discussed the meanings of different tombstone symbols and he had a variety of examples as shown on stones from Oak Hill Cemetery, one of my favorite local hangouts.

He told us that for a figure to truly represent an angel, the figure can give no indication of the gender. The angels represent “messengers from God” and often hold a wreath, which symbolizes victory over death. Other popular tombstone symbols are the cross and anchor, which signify Christ as the “hope we have as an anchor of the soul.” Different flowers have different meanings, with the lily, which is common on tombstones, symbolizing purity.

We were also told that some more modern tombstones have symbols that have particular meaning to the decedent. In view of this, I have decided that on the back on my tombstone I want a large glass of sweet tea, a couple of cats, a computer and an open book. That just about says it all.

Oh, the photo above was taken in Fernwood Cemetery 2 June 2009. There is no indication whose grave it is marking, but I figure it must have been a good person as there is a variety of religious symbols on the tombstone.

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