Stories in Stone: The Complete Guide to Cemetery Symbolism

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Overview

Stories in Stone

The Complete Illustrated Guide to Cemetery Symbolism

The language of symbols is one that has been with us from the beginning of recorded history. Our everyday life is full of symbols. We see many of them when we are driving: arrows point us in the right direction, upside-down pyramids tell us of slow-moving vehicles, and octagons caution us to stop. There are multitudes of business symbols we encounter everyday: a stylized pair...

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Overview

Stories in Stone

The Complete Illustrated Guide to Cemetery Symbolism

The language of symbols is one that has been with us from the beginning of recorded history. Our everyday life is full of symbols. We see many of them when we are driving: arrows point us in the right direction, upside-down pyramids tell us of slow-moving vehicles, and octagons caution us to stop. There are multitudes of business symbols we encounter everyday: a stylized pair of golden arches indicates there's a McDonald's restaurant located nearby; a checkmark called a "swoosh" subtly informs that its owner is wearing a Nike product; a polychrome apple with a bite taken out of it whimsically announces that its product is an Apple computer; a storefront displaying a symbol of three balls shows that its business is a pawn shop.

The meaning of most symbols has remained fairly consistent through the centuries: crosses for Christians, six-pointed stars for Jews, the yin-yang symbol for Buddhists-and hearts speak of love, lambs of innocence, and circles of completeness and immortality. But, nowhere is the language of symbols more apparent than in cemeteries. Dead men may tell no tales, but their tombstones do. Besides informing us of people's names and dates of birth and death, tombstones often tell us what religion they affilated with, what ethnicity they descended from, what clubs and organizations they belonged to, what occupations they worked in, and what thoughts they held on the afterlife.

Journey with us now into the little-known world of cemeteries. The author provides fascinating information and stunning full-color and black-and-white images of funerary architecture designed for eternal life, from mausoleums, chapels, and offices, to tombs, sculptures, and memorials. He then draws us into the very personal area of stone relics designed especially for the deceased, from likenesses of plants, animals, mankind, and mortality, to icons of religion, societies, clubs, and final impressions of how the occupant wanted to be remembered.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781586853211
  • Publisher: Smith, Gibbs Publisher
  • Publication date: 4/5/2004
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 277,978
  • Product dimensions: 4.90 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.64 (d)

Meet the Author

Chico, California-based photographer Douglas Keister has photographed twenty-two award-winning, critically acclaimed books. His seventeen books on architecture include four books on Victorian homes (Daughter's of Painted Ladies, Painted Ladies Revisited, America's Painted Ladies and Victorian Glory); three books on bungalow homes (The Bungalow, Inside the Bungalow and Outside the Bungalow), a book on 1920s whimsical homes (Storybook Style) a book about cemetery art and architecture (Going Out in Style), a book on Spanish architecture, (Red Tile Style), six books on bungalow details and Classic Cottages, that will be published by Gibbs Smith Publisher in the Spring of 2004. Keister photographed and wrote an award winning children's book (Fernando's Gift), has two monographs of his personal work (Black Rock and Driftwood Whimsy), a book on classic travel trailers, (Ready to Roll) and a book on cemetery symbolism, Stories in Stone: The Complete Illustrated Guide to Cemetery Symbolism, that will be published by Gibbs Smith Publisher in the Spring of 2004. His wealth of books on architecture has earned him the title, "America's most noted photographer of historic architecture."

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Read an Excerpt

CEMETERY enthusiasts know that cemeteries are a vast treasure trove of art and architecture. The fact is, cemeteries are America’s most unspoiled resource of historic arcitecture. It would take many hours of strolling in a city’s downtown historic district to find the number of styles of architecture that one can find in a few minutes’ walk in most large historic cemeteries. Most cemetery architecture is a mirror of the urban architecture of the time. Gothic cathedrals, Classical Revival city halls, Art Deco theaters, and rustic cast-iron garden furniture can all find their counterpart in the cemetery. And there are some styles of architecture that can be found only in cemeteries; we’ll call this architecture “uniquely funerary.”

Up until the Reformation in the sixteenth century, most cemeteries consisted primarily of randomly placed headstones.Wealthy folks purchased their way into being buried within the walls and floors of their church. But a series of edicts and a slowdown of church construction during the Reformation essentially put an end to burial within the church. Moneyed types started looking outside the walls of the church to erect a suitable memorial to themselves and their families. Elaborate statuary, tombs, and monuments slowly began to find their way into formerly stark churchyards and city cemeteries.When garden cemeteries with vast landscaped expanses began to be developed in the early nineteenth century, they became a new architectural frontier for America’s architects, artists, designers, and builders.

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Table of Contents

Preface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

FUNERARY ARCHITECTURE: DESIGNED FOR ETERNITY

Mausoleums, Chapels, Offices . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12

Tombs, Sculptures, Memorials . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26

The Sarcophagus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .27

STONE SENTINELS: DESIGNED FOR REMEMBRANCE

Flora . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40

Plants and Flowers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41

Fruits, Grains, and Vines . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55

Trees and Bushes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60

Fauna . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68

Animals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69

Fowls and Insects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77

Fishes and Mollusks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 86

Reptiles and Amphibians . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 89

Mythical Creatures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 92

The Evangelists . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 95

The Human Condition . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 100

The Seven Virtues . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 102

Human Body Parts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 105

Worldly Symbols . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 110

Mortality Symbols . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .126

Religious Devotion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 140

Christian Symbolism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 141

Hebrew Symbolism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 153

Chinese and Japanese Symbolism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 159

Heavenly Messengers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 162

The Cross . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 172

Secret Societies, Clubs, and Fraternal Organizations . . 180

Acronyms of Societies, Clubs, and Organizations . . 204

Final Impressions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 228

Gallery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .257

Suggestions for Further Reading . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 279

Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 280

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2007

    An Exceptional Gift From the Living....

    This book is the best of kind on the subject matter. It is truly an enjoyable read as well as an extensive reference tool. The photos are truly beautiful and detailed. A true bargain if looking for this kind of thing and the cover is sueded with gold lettering and a nice silk book mark making it a nice little coffee table book or lovely gift.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 16, 2013

    Gravely Informative

    Great guide with lots of information great pictures. For all who are interested in the meanings of cemetery and grave marker symbols this is a must have book. Excellent book!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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