Note-These are "guidelines" and are more valid for older stones. Now days, graphics on stones don't carry as much (if any) meaning. All depending on the intent of the purchaser. ...MA Leonard
Exerpts from Lincoln, NE Journal Star, May 29, 1999, Pg 4C "Clues to past are chiseled in gravestones' intricacies"Lambs, doves, angels- Usually appear on gravestones for children. Clasped hands- Look at the cuff to distinguish between a man's or woman's hand, woman would have a frilly cuff. The person who died first holds the other's hand, guiding the spouse to heaven. Roses- Whether the rose is a bud, flower or somewhere in between indicates how old the person was at the time of death: Just a bud - normally a child 12 or under Partial bloom - normally a teenager Full bloom - normally in early/mid twenties Tree stumps- Each branch that protudes from the stump, represents a child who outlived the deceased. A branch cut off close to the stump, indicates the child died before the parent. The height of the stump may indicate/hint at age of the deceased.
Other References- Cemetery Symbolism - City of the Silent Association for Gravestone Studies (AGS) Tombstone Art & Symbols Cemetery Art and Symbolism The Olive Tree: Graven Images US Dept of Veterans Affairs: Available Emblems of Belief Old Cemeteries Society: Symbolism IBSSG: Fraternal and Grave Marker Acronyms Symbols, Designs and Epitaphs on Tombstones
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06/1999 M.A.Leonard, Last Update-08/24/2002