Egyptian Revival, Part 3

During the rural cemetery movement designers created park-like cemeteries.  The first such cemetery was Mt. Auburn, which opened in 1831, at Cambridge, Massachussetts.  The ideal was to fuse the utility of having a place to bury the dead but design the cemeteries so they were pleasing to the eye with an open park design.  Funerary art and architecture was designed to illicit emotions, such as the finality of death and the Christian ideal of eternity.

The Tate Mausoleum in the Bellefontaine Cemetery in St. Louis, Missouri, is an example of the Egyptian Revival architecture found in many large urban cemeteries.  The mausoleum has many features of Egyptian temples–the cavetto cornice that curves into a half circle at the top of the tomb and above the doorway, the torus molding at the bottom of the cornice, around the door, and the corners of the mausoleum that are designed to emulate long bundled plants, and the heavy columns with the palm leaves at the top. 

The Tate Tomb also features two winged globes with uroei.  In this example, there are three sets of falcon wings that are a symbol of the king, the sun, and the sky.  The globe represents the Egyptian god, Horus.  The uroei, snakes, are waiting to strike.  They symbolize the king’s ability to ward off evil spirits. 

Three steps lead up to a pair of bronze doors that feature lotus flowers and buds, the entryway guarded by two large sphinxes.  The massive tomb gives one the sense of solominity and a sense of eternity, just as the temples of the pharaohs.

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