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Stories in Stone: A Field Guide to Cemetery Symbolism and Iconography
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Stories in Stone: A Field Guide to Cemetery Symbolism and Iconography

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by Douglas Keister
 

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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

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 eternallife, 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781567317763
Publisher:
MJF Books
Publication date:
03/27/2006
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
4.80(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.70(d)

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Introduction

In 1887, one Dr. L. L. Zamenhof created a language called Esperanto. His goal was to develop an international language that would enable better communication and understanding between cultures and nations, hopefully resulting in a more peaceful world. Although Esperanto still has a number of followers, it never really caught on in a big way.

But we still have an international language and it's one that has been with us from the beginning of recorded history-the language of symbols. 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 a slow-moving vehicle, and octagons tell us to stop. There are also the multitude of business symbols we encounter in everyday life. Whether you are in Moscow or Muncie, a stylized M representing a pair of golden arches tells you where Big Macs are to be found. Another trademark, a stylized check mark called a swoosh, tells you its owner is wearing a Nike product. Want to buy an Apple computer? Look for a polychrome apple with a bite taken out. Want to trade your television for some cash? Look for a storefront displaying three balls, the symbol for a pawnshop.

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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