Grave Art

Grave Art Grave Art

The "domestication of death" that characterized 19th century attitudes toward death and the afterlife is visible in Oaklawn's memorial statuary and grave art. Some typical motifs are:

  • The broken column, suggesting a life cutoff
  • Recumbent lambs, especially on children's graves, symbolizing innocence
  • The draped urn, referencing both ancient burial practices and the veil between life and the afterlife
  • The sheaf of wheat, denoting a fruitful life and/or the harvest of souls
  • The rose, frequently seen on women's graves, expressing purity and fragility
  • The weeping willow, a marker of immortal life
  • Ivy vines, representing immortality and fidelity
  • Fraternal emblems or mottos, indicating the decedent's membership in Freemasonry, Woodmen of the World, Elks, or the American Legion.

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