08 August 2009

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


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.

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