TOMBSTONE CARVINGS AND THEIR MEANING

Courtesy of Maine Old Cemetery Association Newsletter
Page Mounted May 27, 2001
Return to Otisfield Cemetery Page


Anchors and Ships- Hope, or Seafaring profession

Arches- Victory in death

Arrows- Mortality

Bouquets/Flowers- Condolences, grief, sorrow

Broken Column- Loss of head of family

Broken Ring- Family circle severed

Buds/Rosebud- Meaning of life or renewal of life

Bugles- Resurrection and the military

Butterfly- Short lived; early death

Candle being Snuffed- Time, mortality

Cherub- Angelic

Corn- Ripe old age

Cross- Emblem of faith

Crossed Swords- High ranking military person

Darts- Mortality

Doves- The Soul, purity, innocence, affection, gentleness

Father Time- Mortality, the Grim Reaper

Flowers- Brevity of early existence, sorrow

Flying Birds- Flight of the soul

Fruits- Eternal plenty

Full-Blown Rose- Prime of life

Garlands- Victory in death

Hands of God Chopping- Sudden death

Handshakes- Farewell to earthly existence

Harp- Praise to the Maker

Hearts- Soul in bliss or love of Christ

Horns- The Resurrection

Hourglass- Swiftness of time

Imps- Mortality

Ivy- Friendship and immortality

Lamb- Innocence

Laurel- Fame or Victory

Lily or Lily of Valley- Emblem of innocence and purity

Morning Glory- Beginning of Life

Oak Leaves of Acorn- maturity, ripe old age

Open Book/Bible- Deceased teacher, minister, etc

Palm Branch- Victory and rejoicing

Picks and Shovels- Mortality

Poppy- Sleep

Portals- Passageway to eternal journey

Roses- Brevity of earthly existence

Sheaf of Wheat- Ripe for harvest, divine harvest time

Shells- Pilgrimage of Life

Stars & Stripes around Eagle- Eternal vigilance, liberty

Suns- The Resurrection

Thistles- Remembrance

Tombs- Mortality

Torch Inverted- Life Extinct

Trees- Life

Tree Stumps w/ Ivy- Head of family; immortality

Trumpeters- Heralds of the Resurrection

Urn With Blaze- Undying friendship

Urn With Wreath or Crepe- Mourning

Weeping Willow- Emblem of sorrow

Willows- Eternal sorrow

Winged Effigies- Flight of the soul