California Genealogy and
|Cemetery symbols used by
stone carvers and monument companies from the 1700s forward included
traditional religious symbols as well as symbols borrowed from art and
- ANCHOR -- identified with Saint
Nicholas, patron Saint of seaman and a Christian symbol for hope and
- ANGELS -- angels of heaven,
trumpeting they accompany the soul heavenward announcing arrival.
- ARROWS -- fatal arrows sent by God.
- BATS -- bats of the underworld.
- BELLS -- tolling for the dead.
- BIRD -- from earliest times, symbol
of the soul; child's death.
- BROKEN COLUMNS -- death.
- CANDLES -- being snuffed out by
- CHERIBUM -- guardians of a sacred
place, servants of God; divine wisdom or justice.
- COCKS -- fall from grace and
- COFFIN -- coffins, skulls, pickaxe
and spade -- tools and other objects associated with burial,
reminders of our ultimate end.
- CROWN -- glory and righteousness.
- COBRA -- death (an Egyptian
- DEATH'S HEAD -- with soul effigy
over mouth (early New England motif).
- EYE -- divine wisdom.
- FATHER TIME -- old man with a beard.
- FLOWERS -- impermanence: CALLA LILY
-- majestic beauty; DAISY -- youth; MORNING GLORY -- resurrection;
LILY -- purity, chastity, flower of Virgin Mary; PANSY -- humility;
ROSE/ROSETTE -- love; SHAMROCK -- Holy Trinity or Ireland; THISTLE
-- the fall of man.
- FRUIT -- fertility and abundance;
GRAPES -- fertility and sacrifice.
Hint: Did you know...that a block
of Styrofoam will clean off moss
and soil debris from old tombstones and will not damage the stone?