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Clasped Hands: The Devil is in the Details

"Clasped Hands," "Hands Together," and "Shaking Hands" are phrases used to describe the image below. This particular image was carved into the upper part of a pedestal tombstone with a vaulted roof erected in Hillcrest Cemetery; Reynolds, GA for Tempie Hill.


This symbol has a few accepted meanings. A heavenly welcome, an earthly farewell, simple unity, or friendship.

If you look a little more closely, you will notice the sleeve attached to one hand is feminine, and the sleeve attached to the other hand is masculine. These hands, carved in this way, symbolize holy matrimony.

I have seen the clasped hands symbol fairly often when perusing tombstones. Often enough, that I have gotten a little "used to it." I looked at this particular stone several times while at the cemetery, and I have looked at the photos I took several times more. Only when I enlarged the clasped hands image did I notice one was feminine and one was masculine. When researching tombstones, details do matter. This particular stone was easy to read. The next one might not be. Every little clue counts!

Tempie McDaniel
Wife of J. G. Hill
Born Oct 8, 1872
Died Jan 9, 1906

Hillcrest Cemetery (aka Reynolds City Cemetery)
Taylor County, Georgia

Click here for more Cemetery Symbolism.

Comments

Anonymous said…
it is interesting that the index finger of the masculine hand point outward/down rather than clasping around like the rest of his fingers...
Connie Dodson said…
I thought it was a masonic symbol, IOOF for example.
Debbie Davis said…
actually the hand clasping above represents: symbol and devotion of husband and wife to their marriage and when one finger is pointing down it means that the life ended abruptly and they are Heaven bound leaving one behind.
"[W]hen one finger is pointing down it means that the life ended abruptly and they are Heaven bound leaving one behind." >>> I did not know this part, Debbie. Thanks for the information!
Debbie, have you found written documentation explaining your suggested interpretation of the symbol of the clasped hands with the finger of the male hand pointed downward? Otherwise, how do you come to this conclusion? In addition, note the pinkie finger of the female is bent as well. Thank you for sharing. Thank you

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The hand of the Lord came upon me and brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley; and it was full of bones. Then He caused me to pass by them all around, and behold, there were very many in the open valley; and indeed they were very dry. And He said to me, "Son of man, can these bones live?"

So I answered, "O Lord God, You know."

Again He said to me, "Prophesy to these bones, and say to them, 'O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord!' Thus says the Lord God to these bones: 'Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live...'" (Ezekiel 37:1-5, NKJV)