Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Gravestone Symbology Part 3--Nashville

Above: Two beautiful examples of wheat symbol. The first is a sheaf of wheat with sickle, which represents harvest (death) and sometimes adorns the monument of a person who was elderly when he or she passed away. Interestingly, the person who commissioned this monument was able to use a meaningful symbol which also represented the deceased person's surname (see second photo).

The third is another beautiful example of the wheat symbol. Upon close inspection, I discovered that the ends of the wheat stalks were hollow. The attention to detail on old monuments amazes me.

This is one of my favorite monuments. My husband found this on a list of odd attractions in Nashville. We visited Mt. Olivet Cemetery just to see this and found the rest of the monuments in this post on that same trip. Good find, honey! The Lewis crypt points due north. There must be some significance there.

There are a few ways to look at the symbolism of this monument. First, you can look at the pyramid as a symbol of strength, which is why (supposedly) it appears on our paper currency. Given that this is a self-designed tomb of an architect responsible for the Parthenon and Union Station in Nashville, you could say the guy simply appreciated classic architecture. Or, you could go with the sinister explanation--pyramids appear often in Illuminati and Masonic lore.

Two sphinxes guard the path to the tomb. Local legend says that they will bite anyone who gets too close. Of course, I tested this. I still have my arm.

This is a lovely example of a garland, which means victory over death. You can imagine the skill that went into carving a cross and a garland from a single piece of stone.

Shepherd's crooks are typically found on IOOF graves. They symbolize the opening of the earth to the heavens.

Lastly, we spotted this aged example of an anchor, symbol of hope and often used on graves of Masons.