Friday, 26 October 2007
Sunday, 21 October 2007
John Milne's monument, with not one but five Green Men! The pagan symbol of a Green Man was used as early as the 2nd-3rd century by the Romans and was commonly found in churches and cathedrals and then later became popular on gravestones in lowland Scotland. This monument is rich in imagery. An hour-glass indicates the passage of time, cherubs or winged souls represent the soul leaving the body on death and ascending to wait the day of judgement, and the downward facing pair of crossed torches represent death and a life cut short.
Greyfriars is noted for its large number of very big and ornate monuments dating back to the 1600s. Here are three. The dirty black colour of the stone is caused by atmospheric pollution over the centuries in 'Auld Reekie' - something not seen in the country kirkyards where I usually find myself.
OK, I was not supposed to be visiting a cemetery today but when in Edinburgh I happened to be passing Greyfriars Kirkyard and I just happened to have my camera with me so I took a few images. This one with a great skeleton is up against the kirk wall as you enter the kirkyard - very difficult to miss. The standing skeleton with the scythe, the King of Terrors, is the 'personification of death'. Below, the coffins and the sexton's tools - spade and turf cutter and the death's head and crossed bones are all further emblems of mortality.
A standing skeleton is regarded as 'the personification of death - the King of Terrors'. The dart is a 'weapon of death' in his left hand. Skulls or Death's Heads are very common on old gravestones, winged skulls are also well known but this is the first winged skeleton I have come across. They are emblems of mortality. ... all really cheerful stuff eh.... but a great carving! I wonder what is in his other hand - buried under the ground.