Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Cemetery Symbolism Part 2: Body Parts

Cemetery Symbolism Part 2: Body Parts
It's not just animals that are used to represent the positive aspects of humanity, but human body parts too, some represent the bond between lovers, other represent the place one holds in the family line, other's represent the Angles and God himself.

Arms outstretched - the plea for mercy
Eye of God/All-Seeing Eye - The Eye of God or the All-Seeing Eye symbolises the all-knowing and ever-present God. During the Renaissance period in Europe, it was common to illustrate the Eye of God surrounded by a triangle (the Holy Trinity). The eye within the triangle, surrounded by a circle and radiating rays of light is used to symbolise the holiness of the true God.
Hands -  The use of hands in some form is very common on grave memorials.
Symbol of leaving.
Hands, clasped - At first glance, these hands all seem to be in the same fashion but a number of interesting characteristics stand out. First, most of the hands illustrate the right hand in a grasp with fingers overlapping the other hand while the left hand is open. This could be the depiction of a man holding a woman's hand and indicate marriage or a close bond between individuals, unity and affection even after death.
Clasped hands are also symbolic of a farewell or last good-bye. Look at the cuff to distinguish between a man's or woman's hand (the woman would have a frilly cuff.)
The person who died first holds the other's hand, guiding the spouse to heaven.
Hand of God plucking a link of a chain represents God bringing a soul unto himself.

Hands holding:
  A chain with a broken link symbolises the death of a family member.
  A heart - symbolic of charity and is common on 19th-century memorials. It is typically seen on memorials of members of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. Charity
   An open book - the embodiment of Faith

Hand pointing:
Downward - mortality or sudden death. (Possibly a depiction of a secret Masonic handshake.)
Upward - the reward of the righteous, confirmation of life after death. Heavenly reward, ascension to heaven.
Hands praying can connote devotion
Two hands touching at thumbs - The hands are making the "Live long and prosper" gesture that Mr Spock used on Star Trek (Leonard Nimoy is Jewish, and that's where he got it).
The Cohen was the priestly caste. They perform a few specific functions in Orthodox Judaism, and have a few unique restrictions: they are not supposed to remarry or touch a dead body, for example. People who are Cohen often have Cohen as their last name, This is the hand gesture made by Cohen
at the end of services in Orthodox synagogues, it's a benediction and had come to universally represent Cohens.
Heart - Love, mortality, love of God, courage and intelligence.
Bleeding - Christ's suffering for our sins.
Encircled with thorns - the suffering of Christ.
Flaming - signifies extreme religious fervour
Pierced by a sword - the Virgin Mary, hearkening to Simeon's prophecy to Mary at the birth of Christ, "Yea, a sword shall pierce through thine own soul." It can also be used to represent charity.

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