Category Archives: Symbolism

The Egyptian Revival

The Erhardt Family Monument in the Greenwood Cemetery at Phoenix, Arizona, is an example of the influence of the Egyptian revival found in American cemeteries in the 19th century and on into the 20th century. Egyptian ornamentation can be divided … Continue reading

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Rose Blossom

The monument for the Beck family in the Greenwood Cemetery, at Phoenix, Arizona, has atop it a young female figure. Her head is bent forward, she is looking down in reflection and sorrow, while she is holding a rose bloom in … Continue reading

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Acorn

THOMAS K. ELVEY DEC. 26, 1843 AUG. 13, 1902 AT REST Sitting on top of this gray granite gravestone in the Greenwood Cemetery at Phoenix, Arizona, is a large acorn, turned upside down.  The acorn, seed of the mighty oak, … Continue reading

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The Crown

The crown is a fairly common symbol found in American cemeteries.  Sometimes it can be found as an incised carving at the top of the gravestone—often in conjunction with other symbolism such as palm leaves.  Sometimes the crown is made … Continue reading

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The Trumpet and the Book

DAVID MORAN BORN OCT. 14, 1842. DIED MAY 28, 1906. HIS BELOVED WIFE MARY BORN MAY 15, 1845. DIED APR. 4, 1908 MAY THEIR SOULS REST IN PEACE On the top of this gravestone, a youthful angel is looking upward toward … Continue reading

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Lyre

  Some of the most clear examples of symbolism can be found on the zinc markers found in nearly every graveyard.  Here, is an example of a lyre traditionally seen as a symbol of Apollo, the Greek god of music. In Christian symbolism … Continue reading

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Sorrow

In the poem, On Another’s Sorrow, by William Blake, the poet asks: Can I see another’s woe, And not be in sorrow too? Can I see another’s grief, And not seek for kind relief? A mourning figure is carves into … Continue reading

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Hands

Mary Crawford’s white marble tombstone in the Calvary Cemetery at Chicago, Illinois, is a Victorian mélange of symbolism, typical for the age.  The Victorians knew how to do funerals and all things death. The top of the stone depicts swirling … Continue reading

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Open Gates

The red granite block marker above has an opening cut into it.  The opening has two bronze gates slightly open and set into it.  Open gates are a common symbol found in American cemeteries. Most often the open gates symbol is found carved … Continue reading

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Spheres

Like many motifs found in the cemetery, sources vary on the meaning or, if, in fact, there is any meaning at all.  The sphere is certainly one of the motifs found in the cemetery where there is a fair amount … Continue reading

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