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While this list is not a complete list of all symbols used in memorial art,
it serves as a comprehensive guide
to some of the most popular symbols found in the cemeteries
Aesculapian Rod: A serpent and staff thought by many to be the proper symbol for doctors instead of Caduceus.
Anchor: Hope; Jesus the anchor of the soul, traditional maritime symbol
Axe: A vow, consecration, defense
Banner: Triumph, victory
Beads: Prayer
Bell: Invitation, call to worship
Birds: Human souls
Bishop's Staff: Pastoral authority
Book: The Bible, Divine authorship, knowledge, scripture
Broken Column: Death
Butterfly: The Resurrection
Caduceus: Symbol of the medical profession (There are many variations depending upon the area of specialty.)
Candle: Jesus Christ the Light of the World, also the symbol of devotion
Candlesticks (two): Jesus' qualities as both God and man
Candlesticks (three) or Three-Branched Candelabrum: The Holy Trinity
Candlesticks (five) or Five-Branched Candelabrum: The five wounds of Christ
Candlesticks (six) or Six-Branched Candelabrum: The six days of creation or the six hours by Jesus on the cross
Candlesticks (seven) or Seven-Branched Candelabrum: The Church, the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, or the
Seven Sacraments
Circle: Eternity, completeness, perfection
Crossed Keys: St. Peter, Gates of Heaven
Crown: Rank, sovereignty, royalty
Crown of Thorns: The Suffering Savior, a Passion symbol
Cross: Christ and His atoning death, Christ's redemption of fallen humanity
Dove: Peace, purity, meekness, modesty, humility, the Holy Ghost, divine inspiration, innocence
Eagle: Christ, Holy Baptism, St. John
Festoon: Memory
Fire: Martyrdom, zeal, inspiration, youthful fervor, hell, purgatory, sacrifice, purification
Fish: Jesus
Fish/Three: The Trinity
Five-Pointed Star: The wounds of Christ, the Star of Jacob, Divine guidance and protection
Flaming Sword: Expulsion from Eden, with shield: St. Michael
Hand: Issuing from clouds: the Father
Harp: Joy, music, symbol of St. Cecilia patron saint of musicians, associated with David and worship,
Heart: Christian charity, surmounted by a flame: intense zeal or devotion
Lamb: Innocence, purity, sacrifice, Christ
Lamp: Knowledge, truth, enlightenment, Word of God, good works, Divine inspiration
Pastoral Staff: Authority
Pierced Heart: With a lance or spear, a Passion symbol
Plenty, Horn of: The Lord's bounty, Thanksgiving
Pomegranate: The Resurrection, immortality, royalty, fertility, The Church
Pyramid: Light, strength
Rainbow: Promise
Ram: Sacrifice
Rod: Official power, also a Passion symbol
Rope: A Passion symbol, Judas' death
Rosary: Prayer
Rose: Love, Christ, The Nativity.
Rosette: An ornament in the form of a conventional rose or other design of circular form, used as a decoration
Scallop Shell: Baptism, the Baptism of Christ, Christian pilgrimage, and marine affairs
Scythe: Death
Serpent: Death, wisdom
Seven Golden Candlesticks: The Seven Churches of Asia Minor
Seven-Branched Candlestick: The Church, The Seven Churches of Asia Minor, The Seven Angels of the
Apocalypse, The Seven Gifts of the Sheep: Christians, twelve sheep: The Twelve Apostles, sheep and goats:
the redeemed and the lost
Shield: Faith, protection
Shells: Christianity
Shepherd's Crook: Authority, Dominion
Staff: Religious jurisdiction, kindness, shepherd-like qualities/responsibilities
Star: Christ, life
Sword: Power, justice, authority, martyrdom
Triangle: Trinity
Trumpet: Call to worship, call of the Holy Spirit, Judgment Day, resurrection
Urn: Death, sorrow (draped)
Wings: Aspiration, flight of the Gospel
Apple: The fall of man, sin, Eve, discord, Virgin Mary
Apple Blossom: Fame
Azalea: Temperance
Calla Lily: Sympathy, beauty, mariage.
Clover: Industry
Cornucopia/Horn of Plenty: Bounty, blessings, Thanksgiving
Cultivated Rose: Everlasting love
Daisy: The Christ Child's innocence, youth, righteousness, innocence
Dogwood: Symbol of regeneration, divine sacrifice and triumph of eternal life, crucifixion
Easter Lily: Resurrection
Grape: Charity
Grape Vine: The Eucharist, The Church, unity, Christ and his followers
Holly: Christmas
Iris: God-like qualities, eloquence, a message, protection
Ivy: Memory, remembrance, faithfulness, friendship, (often seen with oak)
Laurel Wreath: Triumph, victory, distinction, reward, good report
Lily: Easter, resurrection, the Virgin Mary, purity
Lily of the Valley: The Virgin Mary, humility, purity, return of happiness
Morning Glory: Resurrection, youth, promise, bonds of love and affection
Oak: Strength, virtue, character, eternity, endurance, forgiveness, independence (often seen with ivy)
Olive Branch: Peace, victory
Orange Blossom: Matrimony, chastity, purity
Palm: Victory, eternal peace, heavenly reward, success, righteousness, martyrdom, victory over sin and death
Papyrus: Love
Passion Flower: Crucifixion, Passion of Christ
Pine: Eternity, everlasting life
Pineapple: Friendship, hospitality
Pine Cone: Fertility, regeneration, healing
Poinsettia: Christmas, birth of Hope
Pomegranate: Resurrection, immortality, royalty, eternity, The Church
Poppy: Sleep, consolation, rest, fertility
Rose: Love, Christ, Nativity, joy, martyrdom
Rosette: Decorative form of rose in a circle
Sunflower: Adoration, glory, the soul turning to Christ
Thistle: Independence, austerity, sin, the fall of man
Tulip: Love, charity, declaration of love, ardent affection
Violets: Modesty, humility, graciousness, affection, faithfulness, sweetness, loyalty
Wheat: Riches, thanksgiving, life, bread of life, Body of Christ
Wheat/Broken: Death
Wheat/Bundle: Harvest, bounty
Wild Rose: Love, Christ, Messianic promise