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Tombstone Iconography

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Title Description Burials Photo?
Ab Initio, Ad FinemLatin for "From the Beginning to the End"BurialsClick
Alpha and OmegaThe Alpha and the Omega are the first and the last letters of the Greek alphabet - they represent the beginning and the end; the totality.BurialsClick
Anchor - CrossAlso known as crus dissimulata, it is actually a disguised cross used by early Christians to hide their religion so they would not be persecuted. BurialsNA
AngelsAngels engraved on tombstones mean spirituality; they guard the tomb and are thought to be messengers between God and man. See also "Cherub" BurialsClick
AnkhAncient Egyptian symbol of life; the universe; all life both human and divine.BurialsClick
BannerVictory, Triumph, RejoicingBurialsClick
BasketA basket my be simply decorative. A tipped basket represents life's end. A basket of flowers represents nature's blessing.BurialsClick
BeehiveUnified, harmonious community. Symbol of Mormonism. Masons considered the beehive to be a symbol of industriousness and productivity.BurialsClick
BooksA Holy Bible is often found on Christian stones. A Bible and the Book of Mormon may be found on Mormon stones. Also symbolizes knowledge; education.BurialsClick
Chalice Symbol of Christian Faith. The Chalice may represent Charity on the "Faith, Hope, Charity" triumvariate.BurialsClick
CherubCherubs or Baby Angels are most commonly found on the graves of children. See Angels for more information.BurialsClick
CloudsClouds typically represent Heaven.BurialsClick
Crook (Crosier)Crosiers or Shephard's Crooks are often associated with Odd Fellows. Carried by or before an abbot, bishop, or archbishop as a symbol of office.BurialsClick
Cross - Aaronic Order ChurchAaronic Order Church Cross symbol.BurialsClick
Cross - BontoneeThe Budded Cross. Three lobed ends or Buds, representing the trinity. Also known as Trefoil, Bottony, Botonee.BurialsClick
Cross - CalvaryA Latin cross on three steps or blocks symbolizing faith, hope and love or charity. Also known as a Graded Cross, Stepped Cross or Altar Cross.BurialsClick
Cross - CelticThe Celtic or Irish Cross is a cross within a circle which stands for eternity. BurialsClick
Cross - Chi Rho (letters X and P) or LabarumThe letters X and P are the Greek letters for Chi Rho, an abbreviation for the word Christ. The Chi Rho Cross is a warrior's cross.BurialsClick
Cross - EgyptianAlso known as a Coptic Cross, adapted from the Ankh symbol, the symbol of life.BurialsClick
Cross - EpiscopalEpiscopal CrossBurialsClick
Cross - Fleure-de-lisThe Fleure-de-lis cross is adorned with lily petals at the arm ends. Similar to the Fleurie cross.BurialsClick
Cross - FleurieThe Fleurie (Flory, Floretty, Fleuronny) Cross has three lobed ends which represent the Trinity when used as a Christian Cross.BurialsClick
Cross - GreekThe Greek Cross has four equal arms and is the traditional symbol of Christian faith. BurialsClick
Cross - IonicSimilar to the Celtic cross with ends that flair outward signifying everlasting salvation, love and glory.BurialsClick
Cross - LabarumSee Chi-RhoBurialsClick
Cross - LatinThe Latin or Christian Cross is the most common form of the cross. The simple design is one of the oldest symbols of Christianity. BurialsClick
Cross - Lauburu or Basque The Lauburu or Basque cross was generally used as a symbol of prosperity in heraldry. May mark the tomb of healers of animals and healers of soul.BurialsClick
Cross - LilyThe Lily Cross is simply a Latin cross decorated with lilies (usually white arum lilies). BurialsClick
Cross - LutheranLutheran CrossBurialsClick
Cross - MolineOne of the oldest heraldic variations of the cross. In heraldry the arms of the cross peal off into two curls at the end. BurialsClick
Cross - PresbyterianPresbyterian CrossBurialsClick
Cross - ReligiousThe Cross is an emblem of faith. Nice site with crosses.BurialsClick
Cross - Russian OrthodoxThe Russian Orthodox Cross consists of three bars, the lowest bar is slanted.BurialsClick
Cross - SwastikaThe original swastika cross was a symbol of good fortune. Unfortunately, the swastika is now associated with Hitler and evil.BurialsClick
Cross - United Methodist ChurchUnited Methodist Church EmblemBurialsClick
Cross with CrownChristian symbol of sovereignty of the Lord. It is also an emblem used with the Christian Scientist religion and is a symbol of the Knights Templar.BurialsClick
Ecclesiastes 12.6-7Depiction of Ecclesiastes 12.6-7 includes a wheel with a broken cord, a broken pitcher, a shattered bowl and water representing the well or spring.BurialsClick
EvangelistsThe four Evangelists who wrote the gospels Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are generally represented by an angel, winged ox, winged lion and an eagle.BurialsClick
EvangelistsMatthew: Winged Man, Mark: Winged Lion, Luke: Winged Ox, John: EagleBurialsClick
Faith, Hope, Charity (Book, Anchor and Heart)A triumvirate of Biblical virtues, Faith, Hope, and Charity. The book is Faith, the anchor Hope, and the hands or heart are Charity.BurialsClick
FlameEternal Life or Eternal VigilanceBurialsClick
GateOpen gates symbolize afterlife; the entrance to heaven.BurialsClick
Harp or LyreHeavenly Music or Joy. The Harp is a symbol of hope --it may have a broken string. Symbol of Ireland.BurialsClick
Heart with Anchor and CrossFaith, Hope and Charity. BurialsClick
Heart with SwordCatholic symbol known as the Immaculate Heart of Mary.BurialsClick
Hebrew Symbolism - Here LiesThis sign is found on many Jewish tombstones. It represents the Hebrew words po nikbar or po nitman, meaning "Here Lies"BurialsClick
KeySymbolizes the key to unlock the gates of heaven (St. Peter), or a learned person or a symbol of knowledge of the scriptures.BurialsClick
LampA symbol of Immortality of the Spirit; illuminates the word of God.BurialsClick
MenorahThe Menorah, a seven-branched candelabra, is a symbol of divine wisdom and may be found on Jewish markers. It also symbolizes a "righteous" womanBurialsClick
Mitre (Headdress worn by a Bishop)The liturgical headdress and part of the insignia of a Christian bishop. In the Western church it is a tall pointed hat with peaks in front and back, worn at all solemn functions. BurialsClick
MIZPAHwatch-tower; the look-out BurialsClick
ObeliskRebirth, connect between Heaven & Earth. An upright four-sided pillar, gradually tapering as it rises and cut off at the top in the form of a pyramid.BurialsClick
Ostensorium or MonstranceGenerally marks the grave of clergy. The device is a vessel of the Eucharist most commonly in the shape of a flower or the sun.BurialsClick
PitcherA pitcher broken at the fountain is representative of Ecclesiastes 12, verse 6: "Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern."BurialsClick
RocksChristian symbol for the Lord. BurialsClick
Sic Transit Gloria Mundi"Thus passes away the Glory of the World" -- AKA "You Can't Take it With you"BurialsClick
SunA shining sun represents Heavenly light. Also see "Winged Sun Disk."BurialsClick
TentSocieties associate tents with a place to summon the powers of God. A symbol used by the MasonsBurialsClick
TrumpetPraise of God; Judgement Day,BurialsClick
Unidentified/Unknown SymbolTombstone emblems that have yet to be identified in our current classification system.BurialsClick
UrnImmortality, penitence, death of the body and its return to dust in the final resting-place. The draped Urn represents sorrow or mourning.BurialsClick
Winged Sun DiskAppears on many Egyptian tombs and temple entrances and commemorates the victory of light over darkness, and the life giving properties of the sun.BurialsClick