Category Archives: Symbolism

Alpha and Omega

This statue in the Lakewood Cemetery at Minneapolis, Minnesota, shows a woman holding an open book. The open book is a common symbol found on gravestones. The motif can represent the Book of Life with the names of the just registered on its pages or it can … Continue reading

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Slaying the Dragon

St. Michael is featured in many cemetery sculptures. Only the Archangel Michael, one of three angels mentioned by name in the Bible, is clothed in armor.  The sword he carries represents a cross but also a weapon in his war … Continue reading

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Merlin, On a Pedestal

  Merlin can be found perched high atop a monument in the Forest Home Cemetery at Forest Park, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago.  This is the centerpiece monument in a circle of burials of members of the United Ancient Order … Continue reading

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On a Pedestal

HENRY W. HILDEBRAND BORN FEB. 9. 1836 DIED AUG. 15. 1876. WILLIAM H. BORN JULY 25, 1860. DIED SEPT. 3. 1860. LOUISA E. BORN OCT. 21, 1861. DIED NOV. 9. 1861.   GEORGE H. BORN NOV. 1, 1865. DIED (illegible) … Continue reading

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The soul effigy with a wig

In Memory of Mr JOHN CROWNINSHIELD Son of Mr. Clefford CROWNINSHIELD Obt. June 1 1777 AE t. 49 Years.   Gr-Gr-Grandfather: Johann Caspar Richter Gr-Grandfather: Johannes Caspar von Kronenschieldt  Gr-Grandmather: Elizabeth Allen Grandfather: John Crowninshield 1696 – 1761 Grandmother: Antiss … Continue reading

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Death’s dusky hand

Andrew Erkenbrecher July 4, 1821 January 3, 1885 Andrew Erkenbrecher was a German immigrant who came to America with his parents when he was a child.  He was quite industrious and worked in a series of jobs until he founded … Continue reading

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Light the Way

The door as a motif in funerary art symbolizes mystery.  The door is the pathway from the earthly realm to the next.  In this example, the mystery seems to be lifted—here the mourning figure appears to leading the way to … Continue reading

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