Category Archives: Symbolism

Symbolism of The Wheat Sheaf

Wheat symbolizes the fertility of the earth, renewal, rebirth and abundance. It can also represent the long and fruitful life enjoyed by the deceased.

To Christians wheat represents the body of Christ, and is therefore symbolic of immortality and resurrection. When paired with grapes it is a symbol of the Eucharist.

It is sown in weakness
It is raised in power

frogsonice
Source: http://www.frogsonice.com/photos/mt-auburn/

Our nails are drove
Our work is done.

frogsonice2
Source: http://www.frogsonice.com/photos/mt-auburn/

The busy world is hushed
The fever of life over and our work done

frogsonice3
Source: http://www.frogsonice.com/photos/mt-auburn/

Till the day break

Wheat lamb

Behold the pilgrim as he lies with glory in his view,
To Heaven he lifts his longing eyes and bids the world adieu.  1886

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Snakes and Skulls

Skulls are an acknowledged symbol of death and mortality. The skull represents our physical life now ended.

The image of a snake weaving through the eye socket is very popular with artists in particular tattoo artists. However, it’s meaning is not as dark as it may seem. The snake is symbolic of renewal perhaps because of its ability to shed its skin. When combined with a skull it indicates that there is rebirth and resurrection.

The Death’s-Head Skull, usually a depiction without the lower jawbone, was emblematic of bawds, rakes, sexual adventurers and prostitutes.

Depictions in Marble and Stone

I am always awestruck by the astounding talent of artists and the intricacy of detail in statuary. Some of the most beautiful statues are found in the Cimitero Monumentale di Staglieno, an extensive cemetery located on a hillside in the district of Staglieno of Genoa, Italy. Covering an area of more than a square kilometre, it is one of the largest cemeteries in Europe and is famous for its monument sculpture.

1-Consigliere
The tomb of the Consigliere family is attended by a woman praying on her knees. The sculpture was created by Luigi Orengo who worked extensively with funerary sculpture, especially in the Cemetery of Staglieno where he created dozens of tombs and funeral graves. The mausoleum is decorated with laurel leaves representing the “evergreen” memory of the deceased, and a Greek cross with four arms equal in length which is the traditional symbol of Christian faith.

 

This sculptural group was created in bronze and Carrara marble by Mariano Benlliure. The sculpture represents the funeral procession of the famous bullfighter Joselito el Gallo. The body of the deceased is carved in marble to highlight the figure. At the head of the procession a woman carries a bronze miniature of the Virgin Macarena to whom the bullfighter was very devoted.
Cemetery of San Fernando, Seville, Spain

 

christ going to tomb
I can’t find any source information on this second representation of a funeral procession. It is recorded as ‘Christ going to the tomb’, but I have no confirmation of this data. Translation of the script reads; Proceeding towards the resurrection.
Cemetery Viersen, Germany

 

Cimitero Monumentale Di Milano
This statue depicts a WWI soldier ‘s grave. Luigi Fossati (31-1-1896 – 28-10-1918) who lost his life in the battle of Somme in the Montello hills of Italy. Translation of the dedication reads: Gloomy night enveloped the heroic soul of Luigi Fussati who experienced unspeakable torments under the red dust of the Montello.
Momma and brothers Giullo, Pietro, Giuseppe, Arialdo.
In everlasting memory.
Cimitero Monumentale, Milano, Italy.

 

cypress lawn
This large monument is the burial site of lawyer LLoyd Tevis who was also a successful American business man who headed the Wells Fargo Banking and Pony Express lines for more than 20 years. The “Tevis Cup”, an equestrian endurance ride held annually which requires riders to make the 100 mile Pony Express journey from Tahoe to Auburn in one day is named for him.
Cypress Lawn Memorial Park, Colma, CA, USA.

 

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Charles-Joseph Pigeon (29 March 1838 – 18 March 1915) became famous due to his invention and manufacture in 1884 of the Pigeon lamp, a non-exploding gasoline lamp. He commissioned the family grave sculpture to hold up to 18 family members. The sculpture is a life-sized image of Pigeon holding a notebook and pencil in his hand. An angel overlooks the vignette of him as he lays beside his wife on a bed.
Montparnasse Cemetery, Paris, France

 

Montparnasse3This marble sculpture entitled “The separation of the couple” is not a funerary monument. Until 1965 it was situated in the garden of Luxembourg and was removed because it was considered obscene. I guess they thought the dead wouldn’t mind the obscenity.
Montparnasse Cemitiere, Paris, France

 

Schaub
Heinrich Schaub, born 5 May 1843, died 29 Jan 1909
Schaub commissioned Leipzig architect Emil Franz Hänsel to design a tomb which was sculpted by Otto Wutzler and August Rantz. The monument features fluted pillars and a bronze framed bronze door. A bronze sculpture of a youth kneels in front of a door  representing the eternal kingdom of the dead.
Südfriedhof Cemetery, Leipzig. Germany

 

Staglieno
The figure which rests upon the Burrano tomb was sculpted by Piero da Verona.
Staglieno Cemetery, Genoa, Italy

Daughters of the American Revolution

The Daughters of the American Revolution was founded in 1890. Any woman 18 or older, who can prove a lineal bloodline descent from a patriot of the American Revolution, is eligible for membership. For a grave to have a marker, the markers must be officially approved.

The D.A.R. promotes patriotism, preservation of American history, and education.

D.A.R. members have placed thousands of markers at the graves of Revolutionary War soldiers, patriots, and their wives, daughters and Real Daughters; “To perpetuate the memory of the spirit of the men and women who achieved American independence by the acquisition and protection of historical spots and the erection of monuments…”

A marker for Thomas Lamoreaux’s  service in the War of 1812, was dedicated on October 29, 1932. A second marker identifies; Revolutionary War Soldier & Patriot / Thomas Lamoreux (Lamoreaux) / Ensign Orange County Militia, NY / Signed Articles Of Association / Born Circa 1745 – Died 5 October 1829 / Marker Placed By / Wyoming Valley Chapter NRDAR / 2017

Father Time

Father Time also known as the Grim Reaper, the master of death and harvester of souls, symbolizes mortality. He is usually represented with a long beard and long hair carrying a scythe, and often with wings on his back. Hourglass symbols are also associated with him.

The scythe represents the Divine harvest and the hourglass denotes that the sands of time bring us closer to death. As the scythe cuts the harvest, so life is ended by Father Time.

The images above depict Father Time tipping the hourglass above an image of the deceased.

Time passes, memories last. – 1990

Ere sin could blight or sorrow fade
Death came with timely care
The opening bud to heaven conveyed
And bade it blossom there.

Heavenly Skies

Heaven is the abode of the sun, moon, planets and stars and is the reward of the resurrection.

Stars that pierce the darkness symbolize the spirit overcoming evil and rising to heaven.

A five-pointed also known as a pentagram star was believed to have protective powers against evil. This symbol has been adopted throughout the world with different meanings. The five-pointed pentagram star represents the five senses.

Star 5 point

To Christians, it represents the Star of Bethlehem and is symbolic of the life of Jesus. It may also represent the five wounds of Christ.

To the Jews, it represents the five mosaic books.

This symbol has also been adopted by Masonic organizations (e.g., the Eastern Star).

A six-pointed star represents creation and divine protection as epitomized by the alchemistic signs for fire and water which are an upward and downward apex triangle. It is also called the Creator’s Star with each point representing the days of the week and the hexagram representing the Sabbath.

The interlocking triangles represent the union of opposites.

The six-pointed star or Magen David (Hebrew for Shield of David) is recognized as the emblem of international Judaism. This star comprised of an overlapping upright and an inverted triangle, is associated with David because he carried a hexagram shield against Goliath.

6 star

The sun is a symbol of light and warmth illuminating the world. Its brightness represents everlasting life.

On occasion the sun is shown as a disc with wings.

A rising sun represents the Resurrection whereas a setting sun represents death.

A cross crowned by the rising sun symbolizes Christ’s victory over death and is known as the Easter cross.

cross disc

The Moon which appears in the darkness is symbolic of death; rebirth and Victory.

A crescent moon represents a virgin.

A crescent moon and star symbol denotes that the deceased was a Muslim in life.

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Alpha & Omega

Alpha (A) and Omega (Ω) are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. These letters are often reproduced on gravestones, and when displayed separately Alpha is depicted on the left and Omega on the right.

Frequently the letters are combined to create a recognized Christian symbol derived from the book of Revelation in which they are mentioned in separate verses.
1:8: “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”
22:13: “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”

They are commonly used in conjunction with a cross, a crown or the Chi-Rho (a monogram of chi (Χ) and rho (Ρ) which are the first two letters of the Greek word Khristos.

chi-rho

On a side note, there is a cemetery in Henderson, Vance County, North Carolina, USA which bears the name Alpha Omega Cemetery.