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D headstone-meanings-and-symbols

Drapery in Cemeteries

Drapery in cemeteries and old churchyards is commonplace. You can see it draping headstones and urns, and it symbolises death, and mourning.

In the Victorian era, the urn became a popular symbol of death. It symbolises the return of the physical body to dust, while the soul is everlasting.

The urn’s history started in Pagan religions that carried out cremation. It wasn’t until the late 19th century that attitudes changed due to increasing populations and unhygienic burial conditions.

The ashes of the deceased where commonly collected and buried in an old, or roughly made cooking pot. As these civilizations grew the containers became more elaborate.

The Victorians love of ancient Greek and Roman style decoration is on show in many of their cemeteries and churchyards.

An urn with drapery found in the wonderful churchyard of St Cuthbert's
An urn with drapery found in the wonderful churchyard of St Cuthbert’s

Drapery

Below are some other points to consider in regards to deciphering the meaning of drapery in churchyards.

  • It can represent separation as the Temple in Jerusalem had a curtain separating the sacred area
  • Drapery seen on headstones usually depicts the veil between life and death. It can also represent the crossing of that plane and to others, it symbolises God’s protection until Resurrection
  • During the deceased’s journey from their home to their burial ground, a black cloth draped their coffin. This was the pall and is prior to the creation of hearses.

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Amanda Norman Photography
To view more of Amanda’s graveyard photography, please visit her AmandaNorman.com
Categories
D

Letter D

If what you’re looking for on a headstone, or in a graveyard, or a cemetery begins with the letter D, you will find it here within the graveyard symbols A to Z.

Graveyard symbols beginning with the letter D

  • Daffodil on a headstone in Victorian symbology represents unrequited love
  • Daisy in Victorian symbology represents innocence, and we often see them on children’s graves. See also Flowers
  • Dandelions were used in the renaissance as a symbol of the Passion of Christ
  • Danse Macabre – Are you aware of the dance of death that you partake in? Also a form of Memento Mori
  • Dart is a symbol of death and is sometimes seen carried by skeletons, or piercing the deceased’s flesh
    • A dart can indicate death
    • Arrows and spears can also appear on headstones to represent death, and not how a person died
    • They are also used in egg and dart reliefs around the edges of monuments and headstones, representing life and death.

And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire: And he had in his hand a little book open: and he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot on the earth

The book of Revelation
  • Death Head also see Memento Mori
  • Dial as in a clock dial, is a mortality symbol meaning the passage of time
  • Disce Mori Latin for Learn that you will die
  • Dove has several meanings
    • Flying down represents the Holy Spirit
    • Flying up represents the Soul’s journey to Heaven
    • In profile or with an olive branch represents peace
  • Drapery seen on headstones and urns signifies death and mourning.

Explore Headstone Symbols

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Amanda Norman Photography
To view more of Amanda’s graveyard photography, please visit her AmandaNorman.com