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Clasped hands on tombstones: What do they mean?

Clasped hands on tombstones: What do they mean?

A common object engraved on gravestones, such as tombstones, is two clasped hands, or two hands engaged in a handshake. This can have several meanings depending on the exact positioning of the hands and if there are any other engraved images present. This imagery on gravestones began in the nineteenth century and continues today.

Decoding what clasped hands mean

Clasped hands often represents enduring marriage, especially if there are two graves near the monument. Additionally, one may be able to tell which hand belongs to the husband and which hand belongs to the wife. If one hand has a shirt cuff or jacket cuff that is plaid or tweed, then that is likely the husband’s hand. If the shirt cuff has flower designs or lace, then that is most likely the wife’s hand. Sometimes, this indicates which spouse is buried where.

According to one Website, clasped hands may signify, “a farewell or last goodbye.” This is meaning especially apparent if there is text, such as “Goodbye,” on the tombstone. This farewell may emphasize that the couple will find each other in heaven.

Additionally, since clasped hands can relate to Christian prayer, this image may represent piety.

The positioning of the hands can alter the meaning. For example, hands on a neck represent “sacrifice,” according to an architecture authority. But, an engraving that shows hands on a chest represents “wisdom” and hands that point upwards can represent “voice and song.”

Hands can even indicate the deceased’s profession. If text is engraved on hands, then the individual buried there may have been a writer. However, writing on a hand can also be a religious symbol: writing names into the book of life. If the hand is holding a tool, such as a hammer, then maybe the deceased was a carpenter.

About us

The Cemetery Monuments Company works with each customer to design a monument that suits his or her needs. Our artisans also use the latest techniques when designing monuments such as benches, tombstones and grave markers. We offer pre-need options and can deliver and install monuments at cemeteries. Contact us at 718-824-3600 or visit www.CemeteryMonumentsNY.com.

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