Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Cemetery Symbolism: The Urn

Victorian cemetery art incorporated elaborate symbolism to convey the hopes and sorrows of those left behind.

The Urn: For the ancient Greeks, a repository for the body's ashes, and for the ancient Egyptians, vessels for organs vital to the afterlife. Use of the urn in funereal art evokes these traditions, symbolizing the triumph of immortality over death.


(Forks of the Brandywine Presbyterian Church, West Brandywine Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania)

14 comments:

Farzad said...

I didn't know that!
Very interesting… Thanx 4 the info J.
But you started to freak the hell out of me with your cemetery posts. If I shoot myself, trust me I'm gonna have somebody to sue you :)

jane said...

Great silhouette and I love the sky behind it! Such an atmospheric shot.

jason evans said...

Yeow, Farzad, don't do it! :) Seriously, though, I think I've lost some readers over the cemetery posts. Doesn't appeal to everyone, I guess. Go figure. Since I'm shooting for a unique blog and a persistent mood, however, I'm not inclined to stop. Just skip over those posts! (Fair warning--in the forseeable future there will be a tough Remembrance post. It's going to bother even me, I think.)

Jane, I couldn't resist this one when the moment presented itself. You've got to roll with what the planet offers up, you know?

mermaid said...

I've always thought of it as ashes that do not linger here nor there, but become part of everything around. I guess these ashes are contained, so as not to be separated from the spirit beneath...

Michele said...

Hi!
Nice Pic.
At least you aren't doing cemetary rubbings...some people are really into that.
Some of the really old ones, like in Provincetown MA are very touching and sad. People died so young back then....and sometimes the epitaphs are pure poetry.
Nowadays it's just basic info.
Nothing that pulls the heartstrings. Bet there'd be more though if inscription wasn't so darn expensive.....
Yeah...cost is a killer...

anne frasier said...

beautiful, jason.
i love the cemetery posts. but your probably knew that!

jason evans said...

Mermaid, part of me likes the thought of spreading ashes and integrating back into the Earth, but another part of me is troubled by the thought. I think you're right. The urn preserves a last vestige of individuality for a person, a place to focus our thoughts.

Michele, how have you been? You make a very good point. Cemetery art is a lost form of expression. The stone may be harder, but the sentiment is fleeting.

Anne, reminders are good! Keeps me focused on what's important.

. : A : . said...

Interesting insight. Thanks for the info.

Nice pic too.

Jeff said...

jason- another a+ :)

Michele said...

Hi back at you, Jason,
How've I been?
Good! Getting ready to over-eat for Thanksgiving...
Speaking of which..I hope you have a wonderful holiday!!!

jason evans said...

.:A:., thanks! I was very happy with this picture.

Jeff, wow, I'm liking my grade so far. Now if I can just get through the final....

Michele, glad you're doing well. I'm looking forward to Thanksgiving, but not all the work I have to do between here and there. =O

I hope you and your family have a tremendous holiday!

Kelly Parra said...

Very serene...I like it a lot!

Kara Alison said...

Jason - perhaps I'm missing something, but if the ashes are contained in an urn, then what's buried beneath? Doesn't an urn indicate the absence of need for a burial plot?

...Just trying to figure this one out.

jason evans said...

Kelly, thanks! I caught it at just the right time of day.

Kara, the urn here is used only as symbol. It's stone, part of the monument. A real urn would be simpler in design. The symbolic urn, however, adopts the traditional Greek and Egyptian forms.