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Posts Tagged ‘veil’

Jane, wife of Wm. Fergueson

Carvings that look like drapes or curtains on tombstones usually symbolize the veil between this world and the next. They also harken back to an earlier time, where the rites of mourning took place in the home and customs included draping it in black.

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While we expect that simple tombstones might be alike in some way, I think that there is an assumption that even I have that as a monument gets larger, it is more and more likely to be unique. There is a particular statue design, though, that I have found at least twice now.

She’s veiled and draping a wreath of flowers around a cross. I’ve found her in Lakeside Cemetery in Bay Village, Ohio.

Cahoon monument

I’ve found in her Lake View Cemetery in Cleveland, Ohio.

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From the fact that the design is not unique and the amount of erosion on her compared to other statues, I’m going to guess that she is a slightly less expensive statue that those found around her. That still probably isn’t saying much – a monument with any statue is still far more costly than a simple, flat stone.

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I find this statue to be unusual.

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I don’t find her pose to be a natural one, like so many of the ones you find in cemeteries.  I also don’t find it to be symbolically familiar – I’m not sure the angel statues posed in prayer are always “natural,” but the symbolism is clear enough.  What is her foot doing?

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There is also the question of what exactly is wrapped around her. My friend initially took it for a shroud, but we revised our analysis to be some sort of a long, flowing veil. Her clothing isn’t very distinct, but it could be meant to represent classical Greek or Roman garb like a lot of statues in cemeteries. Silhouetted against the blue sky and detached from her context in the cemetery, she almost looks like she would be more appropriate floating in water.

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