Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Symbol Carvings on Headstones

Headstones are used as memorial symbols for the people who have rested-in-peace. They are used as identification marks installed at the place of cemetery to serve as a remembrance for the person who has expired. They also serve to denote the place where friends and relatives can mourn openly, and feel close to the person who is no more in the world. Headstones bear the deceased’s name, the years of birth and death (in numerical), an inscription and an emblem or symbol. Inscriptions are usually personalized to honor the deceased person’s life or may quote a religious text. The emblem symbols for headstones usually represents hope, faith, wisdom, glory, purity, love, life, victory, etc.

Headstones and grave monuments come in a variety of shapes, styles and sizes. The common types of options are upright, slant, and flush. Upright stones provide the most room for inscriptions in the form of text and stand straight up. Slant stones have a slanted edge where the inscription is carved. Flush markers are grave markers that can be laid flat on the ground of the cemetery. Customization of any type of shapes, sizes and styles can be done as per the requirement.

Headstones can be personalized in many different ways. Religious, fraternal symbols, flowers, portraits, autographs and many other designs can be made as per the requirement. Special emblems indicated on tombstones and headstones have several themes. Some of the most commonly used symbols are Angel of grief (resembling sorrow); Cherub (divine wisdom); Birds (the soul); Cross, anchor and Bible (trails, victory and reward); Dolphin (salvation, bearer of souls to heaven); Column (noble life); Conch shell (wisdom); Book (faith, wisdom); Crown (reward and glory); Garland (victory over death); Dove (purity, love and holy spirit); Heart (devotion); Ivy (faithfulness, memory and undying friendship); Horseshoe (protection against evil); Lily (purity and resurrection); Hourglass (time and its swift flight); Lamb (innocence); Lion (strength, resurrection); Lamp (immortality); Palms (martyrdom); Mermaid (dualism of Christ); Oak (strength); Star of David (the God); Peacock (eternal life); Triangle (truth, equality and trinity); Shell (birth and resurrection); Tree trunk (the beauty of life); Crossed swords (life lost in battle); Pillow (eternal sleep); Broken sword (life cut short) and Weeping willow (mourning and grief).

Granite is the most commonly used stone material for making memorials and monuments and comes in various colors. It is a hard stone and carving can be done manually and by machines. Sandblasting technique is used for carving text letters and designs through precut stencils. Marble or limestone is meant to be the best for carving and skilled sculptors use tools like toothed hammers, axes, mallets and adzes for hitting, carving, pitching and wedge tools are used for making rough shapes of out block size stones and chisels, points and claw chisels are used for chiseling the letters, figures and symbols. Sandstone is also used in making headstones and waterproofing is done so as to enhance the surface resistance against water. Slate is used for letter carving and has textured surface which can be highlighted by paint. Bronze is called the eternal metal and is used for making grave markers.


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