Friday, August 3, 2007

Old Itawamba Cemeteries Reveal Interesting Tombstone Art

In genealogical studies, the researcher visits cemeteries to garner information from the old monuments. However, a fascinating hobby is the study of tombstones as art. There are many historic cemeteries in Itawamba County were old and unusual monuments mark the graves of the early Itawamba settlers.

Some of the more artistic tombstones can be found in such old burial grounds as Keyes, Fulton, New Salem and Center Star. It is interesting to note the symbolism on old tombstones. In Itawamba County the visitors sees many old monuments with clasping hands, a hand with the index finger pointed upward, the weeping willow tree and a ship’s anchor. All such artistic elements have a special meaning.

The following is a list of symbolic items found on tombstones in Itawamba County and what their significance is:

Anchor: Steadfast Hope
Arch: Rejoined with partner in Heaven
Birds: The Soul
Cherub: Divine wisdom or justice
Column: Noble life
Crown: Reward and Glory
Garland: Victory over Death
Heart: Devotion
Lamb: Innocence
Laurel: Victory
Lily: Purity
Olive Branch: Forgiveness and peace
Swallow: Motherhood
Crossed Swords: Life cut short
Torch: Eternal Life
Weeping Willow: Mourning, grief

A most interesting website listing websites dealing with tombstone art and symbolism is located at Family Tree Magazine’s website. Located on the site are nine links to various websites dealing with the subject as well as a listing of books on the subject. Another fascinating article on the subject is the Wikipedia entry for Headstone.

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