Thursday, October 22, 2020

Gravestone memorials: Sydney Bartle and Maud Alice Gadsden, Stellawood, Durban


The Gadsden family plot at Stellawood Cemetery Durban. The side visible in the photo shows the names of Maud Alice Gadsden (my grandmother) and Ernest Alfred Rhodes (her great uncle). Sydney Bartle Gadsden's name appears on the other side of the memorial.


draped urn cemetery tombstone symbols

Kimberly Powell Photo

After the cross, the urn is one of the most commonly used cemetery monuments. The design represents a funeral urn and may symbolize immortality.

Cremation was an early form of preparing the dead for burial. In some periods, especially classical times, it was more common than burial. The shape of the container in which the ashes were placed may have taken the form of a simple box or a marble vase, but no matter what it looked like it was called an urn.

As burial became a more common practice, the urn continued to be closely associated with death. The urn is commonly believed to testify to the death of the body and the dust into which the dead body will change, while the spirit of the departed eternally rests with God.

The cloth draping the urn symbolically guarded the ashes. The shroud-draped urn is believed by some to mean that the soul has departed the shrouded body for its trip to heaven. 

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