Thursday, July 30, 2009
Friday, July 24, 2009
Thursday, July 23, 2009
The topic we studied this week had a lot to do with Stories in Stone. Over the past week I've found that gravestones seem to communicate symbolic gestures of the human condition, personal spiritual beliefs, and stories of the people who rest there. All it takes is looking at the symbols and icons of each gravestone to interpret their meaning. For example, on our walkabout we passed a gravestone with an arrow on it leading upward. I learned that this arrow is indicating a belief that one should be straight as an arrow (practice good morals) in life to ascend swiftly to God or the afterlife. Another symbol that was used on many gravestones we passed was the poppy plant. I learned that this symbol is used to portray elements of sleep and death because of the poppy plant’s natural opiate affect. Signs relating to human mortality were also present. One such icon, the hourglass, I saw on quite a few different gravestones. This I learned was a symbol of human mortality, as our lives come closer and closer to death. I feel that this is a fairly simple but powerful symbol, used on some of the gravestones, and it was interesting to see the hourglass used in different ways. One of the gravestones I saw depicted the hourglass turned sideways, indicating that time has no purpose for the person who lies beneath it anymore. One of the more remarkable gravestones we visited had a large anchor on it. I learned that this was both a symbolism for hope and was also used as a way to display the christian cross when followers did not want to be discovered. All of these symbols and icons I learned about this week, made me think a little about my own life, spirituality, and even a bit about my own mortality. Are these symbols and icons ways for the dead to speak to us? If so, it is certainly important to interpret each of the symbols’ meaning and maybe take something from it. I also was able to get a good grave rubbing from one the gravestones on our walkabout. It is a rubbing of a poppy plant and it bordered one of the gravestones I found.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Friday, July 10, 2009
1. Why Study Spring Grove?
2. What does Spring Grove have to do with the city of Cincinnati?
3. Why are people buried in cemeteries after death?
4. Is a cemetery a way to make death seem beautiful?
5. Why are flowers used so often in cemeteries?
6. Do people symbolize death in order to understand it?
7. Why are there so many species of plants/trees within Spring Grove?
8. Has Spring Grove always been as big as it is?
9. Is a cemetery a mourning of death or is it rather a celebration of life?
10. Why do people want to be remembered by these grave sites?
11. How does this relate to me?
12. What is the role of the cemetery in society?
13. Can a cemetery be a place of meditation?
14. Why do people believe in an after life?
15. Why are cemeteries often depicted as scary?
16. Should grave sites only be viewed in terms of the people who are buried there?
17. Should grave sites sites be viewed as art, religious relics, or historical monuments?
18. Do churches believe cemeteries are holy?
19. Do cemeteries close on holidays/ religious events?
20. Historically, why would a cemetery be a place to walk around or meet people in?
21. Is it important to honor the dead?
22. Can superstitions of cemeteries be explained rationally?
23. What emotions should one feel in a cemetery?
24. Are grave sites arranged in a certain way?
25. Can a cemetery only provide a look back in time or can it also provide a look into the future?
Thursday, July 9, 2009
The first mausoleum I visited, the Gerrard, was a strong geometrical tomb made of stone. I instantly noticed how perfectly symmetrical its structure is and how ornate the designs are carved into the rock. Also, I had a close look at the design of the front gate, and inside each frame there is a beautiful grape tree casted from the iron. Behind the gate, is a layer of glass so I was to see the inside of the mausoleum. Inside, I could see all parts of the tomb including an illumination of Leonardo da Vinci's, The Last Supper made out of stained glass on the back wall. To have a family name inscribed on one of these burials must be a great honor.
The second mausoleum I visited, the Groesbeck, was not as big but still very nice. Urns laying on each side of the mausoleum and on top is a statue of a woman which caught my eye. The statue of the woman is wearing a gown and kneeling with her head downward as if in mourning. Because of the symbols, looking at the mausoleum made me feel somewhat somber for the person or family that is buried inside.
The third mausoleum I visited, the Burnet, was large fluid-like structure with a lot of design and detail. I noticed the white stone structure is desgined with plenty of arches, allowing its appearence to be very pleasing to the eye. I liked just how intricate the various carvings were on the rock, including a christian cross which hangs above the mausoleum door. The gardens around the structure are well flourished and from the mausoleum I could see across cedar lake. It stands out well from all other burials in this section and has one of the best locations in the area. Although, I found these mausoleums to be a little on the excessive side, I think all three are classy and elegent enough to provide a proper balance. Each certainly possess personal beauty and the those buried in each certainly must have led very wealthy lives. I would certainly like to do more research on these burials, especially the Burnet.