What Are The Most Commonly Used Motifs On Gravestones?

by | Oct 11, 2011 | Business

Have you ever wondered why a particular design was used on the gravestone above your grandfather’s final resting place? Children attracted to the designs and motifs on gravestones often ask about what each symbol signifies. Have you ever been able to answer these questions related to the designs, symbols, and motifs found on gravestones? Your answer is probably a no! Most of us do not know the significance of the symbols used and end up misinterpreting the meanings of the ones we notice.

Although most people tend to accept the literal meanings of the symbols, you must always remember that the inner meaning of every symbol may not always match its literal meaning. None of the designs used in the cemetery have been randomly chosen. When walking through a cemetery you may find the same symbol used in different tombstones. Here is a list of the most commonly occurring motifs and icons found on gravestones.

Angels :

You will commonly find angels etched on different gravestones. In many cultures, angels are associated with prosperity and good will. The various postures of the angels have different meanings . For example, a trumpeting angel means resurrection, a flying angel indicates rebirth, and a weeping angel denotes grief and mourning.  

Trees And Flowers :

There are many types of tree and flower motifs found on tombstones in a cemetery. Each motif is distinctly different from the other and signifies an aspect in the life of the person interred there in. A simple tree indicates life, while a sprouting tree denotes everlasting life. This is used to denote a positive journey of the soul after it has left the mortal coil.

When a motif of a severed branch or flower stem is used, it denotes mortality. Have you ever seen a tree stump carved on a tombstone? When a tree stump, a trunk, or a leaning trunk is used as a motif on the gravestone, then it clearly indicates the brevity of the deceased person’s life. Broken flower stems also indicate a life that has been interrupted at its prime. Death by accidents or untimely illness, are denoted using these motifs.

When you select a particular type of gravestone you can get professionals to engrave the motifs you desire to use. If on the lookout for suitable providers and engravers of gravestones, Beverly, MA residents must go for the best ion town. Only then will they be satisfied with the services obtained.


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