MEANINGS OF CARVINGS ON TOMBSTONES

Arches--- Victory in Death
Arrows--- Mortality
Bouquets/flowers--- condolences, grief, sorrow
Buds/Rosebud--- Morning of life or renewal of life
Roses--- Brevity of earthly existence
Portals--- Passageway to eternal journey
Bugles--- Resurrection and the military
Crossed Swords--- High-ranking military person
Flying Birds--- Flight of the soul
Fruits --- Eternal plenty
Garlands --- Victory in death
Imps--- Mortality
Shells--- Pilgrimage of life
Thistles--- Remembrance
Tombs--- Mortality
Trees--- Life
Trumpeters--- Heralds of the resurrection
Willows--- Earthly sorrow
Morning Glory--- Beginning of life
Butterfly--- Short-lived; early death
Full-Blown Rose--- Prime of life
Palm Branch--- Signifies victory and rejoicing
Ivy--- Friendship and immortality
Laurel--- Fame or victory
Oak Leaves & Acorn--- Maturity, ripe old age
Weeping Willow--- Emblem of sorrow
Corn--- Ripe old age
Sheaf of Wheat--- Ripe for harvest, divine harvest time
Poppy--- Sleep
Lamb--- Innocence
Dove--- Innocence, gentleness, affection, purity
Cherub--- Angelic
Cross--- Emblem of faith
Anchor/Ships--- Hope or seafaring profession
Broken Ring--- Family circle severed
Broken Column--- Loss of head of family
Torch Inverted--- Life extinct
Urn with Blaze --- Undying friendship
Harp--- Praise to the Maker
Handshakes--- Farewell
Hearts--- Soul in bliss or love of Christ
Horns--- The Resurrection
Hourglass--- Swiftness of time
Open Book/ Bible--- Deceased teacher, minister, etc.
Lily or Lily of Valley--- Emblem of innocence and purity
Tree Stump w/Ivy--- Head of family; immortality
Urn with /wreath or crepe--- mourning
Stars & Stripes Around Eagle--- Eternal vigilance, liberty
Hourglass w/Wings of Time--- Time flying; short life
Candle being Snuffed--- Time, mortality
Coffin, Father Time, picks/shovels, darts--- mortality
Hand of God Chopping--- Sudden death
Winged Effigies--- Flight of the soul
http://www.gravestonestudies.org/pdf/Gravestone%20abbreviations.pdf Use this link to access more information.