The variety found in the rustic movement tombstones is diverse. In these three examples of the tree-stump chair, elegant and slim curved lines have given way to the bulkier and heavier forms made from pieces that came directly from the trees often with the bark still intact, eschewing classic designs.
In the example above the chair back is inscribed with the little girl’s name while the scroll on the seat gives her birth and death date.
Here the tree-stump tombstone is carved into the form of an empty chair. The chair back and the arms of the chair (one is missing) are formed out of tree branches with the stump forming the base of the chair. On the back of the chair hangs a man’s hat. This tombstone depicts a lonely scene.
In this example, tree stumps form the base of the chair and the seat bottom has “FATHER” carved on the face of it. Again, heavy branches with the bark still intact form the seat back and the arms of the chair.
In the example above, the back of the chair is formed from two branches in the shape of a “V”. The base is the tree stump. The creativity of the carvers was boundless. Thousands of tree-stump tombstones exist in nearly as many designs.
In funerary symbolism the vacant chair symbolizes the loss of a loved one.