Headstone Symbolism – Clasped Hands

On the grave of Charlie Bonner (d. 13th December, 1894) buried Springfield

Perhaps the most common headstone symbol bar foliage is that of clasped hands. At first glance they look fairly simple in design, but look closely and you’ll begin to see more detail that you may be able to relate to those interred.

Look at the cuffs – many will depict male and female attire. A frilly cuff for a woman and perhaps a cufflink or tweed for the man. Likewise one hand may be more gracile, indicating a female.

On headstone of Alice Guy (d. 15th June 1904), buried Springfield.

Clasped hands can be a symbol of a farewell or last goodbye, and some are accompanied by wording reflecting such sentiments. This symbol can also illustrate unity in life and death, a fraternal bond or a partnership such as man and wife.

It is often said that the hand “grasping” represents that of the first to die, leading the other to heaven. However, this doesn’t always tie in with the chronology on a headstone.

On headstone of William Edward Nivingsen Hewitt (d. 26 Jan, 1910 - drowned Mt White), at Waddington buried with his parents and brother.




  1. Pingback: Clasped hands on tombstones: What do they mean? | Cemetery Monuments - June 24, 2013

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