Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Anchors, ivy, and tree trunks, oh my!

I got really excited when I saw this particular monument because it is so rich with symbolism. For starters, the big anchor in the middle was a common representation of hope (usually hope in the eternal life of the soul) in the 19th century. The symbolism is derived from Hebrews 6:19-20 in The Bible, which states: "Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of the Melchisedec."

The big tree trunks that make up the bulk of the monument can mean a couple of different things. Sometimes, they were simple a decorative choice when it came to a tombstone, since there was a big rustic revival going on in the decorating styles of the country at this time. Also, tree trunks can symbolize the loss of someone young. If the tree trunk is obviously a stump who has been cut down before its time, it can also indicate someone dying before their time. 

It is hard to see, but there is also ivy "growing" on the tree trunks. Ivy is hard to kill and remains green and lively even in the harshest of conditions. It has come to represent the immortal soul and undying love and dedication because of those qualities. 

The combination of all of these symbols makes me wonder who this person was, and why their monument was created in such a way...

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