Sunday, August 16, 2009

Grave statuary

Why is it that so many of the statues in cemeteries depict female figures? From our meanderings in a cemetery in Montreal, we saw a number of beautiful examples of statuary, particularly female figures. We saw this one when we first came into the cemetery, and were struck by its lovely lines and the eloquent way it depicted grief -- "how original!" we thought. Then we saw several others with the same design, and figured there was some mortuary catalogue with this headstone as one of the designs. *Sigh* It lost some of its eloquence after that. But it's still quite pretty.

This one had a bit of added whimsy, since someone replaced her bow with a stuffed animal (honestly, it wasn't me!).

And, of course, angels could be of either sex (or sexless), but seem to be depicted as female or feminine in many cases:

I love the way that metal gains additional texture with age -- she almost seems to be weeping. I'm not sure what the significance of the large feather is, though.

So, why are women keepers of the dead -- why are we charged with grieving and mourning and watching over the graves? Is this found in all cultures?

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