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Rules, Rubrics and Relations
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Figure 6b. Distribution of various decorative elements (I).
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Figure 6b. Distribution of various decorative elements (I).

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Other decorative motifs


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Figures 6 and 7 explore the occurrence of some of the most popular decorative symbols from the two graveyards. Among the most common of these symbols is the ‘INRI’ monogram (Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum) (Fig. 6b). It is usually found in association with a cross sprung from the ‘H’ of the ‘IHS’ monogram, divided on either side of the shaft. As a motif it was introduced during the 1790s and continued until 1860, with defined peaks during the 1830s and 1850s. Finally, the inclusion of flowers, of varying kinds, is a relatively minor and infrequent component of gravestone decoration from the 1790s to the 1940s. Among the most interesting use of the motif is found on one stone in Killora cemetery. The arrangement of the symbols presents an explicit narrative moving from the symbol of death or ‘memento mori’ (a skull and cross-bones) 8, the ‘last day’ (Archangel Gabriel with a trumpet), Judgement (a set of scales) and finally to salvation, symbolised by a rosette. Thus, the inclusion of a flower among the carved motifs may be taken as a symbol of the Christian belief in resurrection (Pl. 12a-d).

 

[8] See McCormick 1983, 276-80 for a discussion of the origins of such mortality symbols. The stone depicted (Ka 170) is dedicated to the Cloonan and Joyce families. This stone bears the date of manufacture of 1839 and the sculptor’s name: Michael O’Kelly.

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Figure 7. Distribution of various decorative elements (II).
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Figure 7. Distribution of various decorative elements (II).

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