Acanthus leaves seen on headstones and on the corners and hinges of tombs and caskets like the one above, have long been associated with mourning.
It’s enduring nature meant it symbolised immortality in the Classical world. Greek legend told of how an acanthus grew around a basket on a child’s grave and inspired an architect to use the design of the leaf on the columns at Corinth.
It is also associated with the Arts for the graceful way it grows around feature in the wild.
The thorny leaves of the plant are sometimes associated with sin and punishment and some associate them with the Crown of Thorns worn by Christ on the cross.