I absolutely love tombstone symbolism, the more unusual the better. Once you start to learn what the different symbols mean, it can actually tell you quite a bit about the person buried there. The tombstone below is one of my all time favorites.
I took this picture a couple of years ago at a cemetery near my house. This cemetery has different areas based on religious backgrounds and this was in the Jewish section. It caught my eye because of what I like to call the Spock hands at the top of the headstone. Hands like this indicate the symbol of a priestly blessing, otherwise known as a Kohen, which in Judaism indicates a descendant of the biblical high priest Aaron. In other words, this man was a Jewish priest.
A very common symbol on headstones is clasped hands. This symbolizes a goodbye, along with the hope of meeting in eternity. It is most often used for a husband and wife. The picture below shows William Evans restored headstone. His brother Joseph, who died on the same day in a mining explosion has an identical headstone located directly above.
Lambs represent innocence, and almost always mark the graves of children. Often times the lambs are extremely worn down and it can be hard to tell what they once were. The example below has held up well over time.
I haven’t seen too many gates represented on headstones like the one below. These are fairly obvious and represent the gates of heaven / entrance into heaven. Bernard Evans was killed in a work accident when he was covered in a slag dump.
This is one of the most elaborate headstones I’ve seen. It’s located in the Mt Olivet Cemetery in Salt Lake City. An open book represents the Book of Life. Lead Kindly Light is a hymn that was popular at the time.
The headstone below from a small cemetery in Idaho shows an open Book of Mormon.
This website is a great resource tombstone symbolism. Stop by a cemetery near your house sometime and see how many different ones you can find. 🙂