Archive for September 15th, 2011


Symbolism is a language that depends on shared understanding, and a lot of cemetery symbols have fairly consistent, agreed-upon meanings. After all, if you are putting something literally in stone for future generations, you’d like to be fairly well-assured that those generations aren’t going to look at what you’ve left them and say, “huh?” Books, however, lack that universally accepted definition as funerary symbols. And today we’re only going to talk about the symbol of the open book. There are a variety of possibilities – the most straightforward is that the deceased was employed in a field with which books are associated – but aren’t there a lot of those? Writers, scholars, printers, publishers, booksellers and librarians all can be said to work intensively with books. A book could be a representation of knowledge.


If it’s not an occupational symbol, perhaps its a religious one. Some open books on stones are thought to represent the Bible itself; others, general openness to the word of God. Or maybe a book is merely a representation of one’s existence, the Book of Life, open to the final page in the cemetery.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: