Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Taphophile Tragics # 13 - Sleeping like an Angel


Anastasios was not quite four years of age when he slipped off this mortal coil. His father 35. It took his father, Dimitrios, another 40 years to join his son. Look at the photograph of the young lad. The apple of everyones' eye, no doubt. Well cared for, religious, middle class, from a close, loving family. Devastation all round. Son, brother, nephew, and uncle already. But all categories of families are devastaed when a child dies. What sets this family apart is that they had the income to attempt to put their tender mourning into art.


For me the eye-catching element of this marker is the prone angel. Eye-catching literally. I was stomping out the rows going down a rather steep incline with a rough path beneath my feet. Out of the corner of my eye I caught this sheen of whiteness and was stopped in my tracks.


Although this is Section 15 General in Botany Cemetery, it is rife with the memorials to departed Greeks. It seems to me, that Botany is riddled with departed Greeks, with as many Greeks as there are Anglos. Maybe the Greek markers are just more obvious. This black style is replcated in many other rows and sections. The Greeks however, are obliged to tend to their departed on a regular basis. And one of their methods is to leave copious flowers. So maybe I am simply seeing more Greek markers because they are tended more assiduously.


There is no initials on this marker. No Mason company. No number. No nothing. Next time I am there, I will ask at the office if his sort of information is held in their system.



This is my contribution to the Taphophile Tragics community.

22 comments:

JM said...

The top and bottom shots are amazing! Well done, Julie.

Kay L. Davies said...

I agree, the top and bottom photos are wonderful, Julie. The angel is so well done, I can believe she is sleeping. She looks so real, almost soft though made of stone.
K

Dina said...

So unusual and so touching.

Genie -- Paris and Beyond said...

That angel would stop me in my tracks as well. The execution of this tribute is stunningly peaceful and moving. His family ensured that he would be remembered.

Thank you for this story.

Bises,
Genie

Ann said...

That's a beautiful sculpture, quite unusual.

hamilton said...

I am struck by the use of the word 'departed' instead of 'died'. It seems somehow less permanent, like travelling in the next life.

Joan Elizabeth said...

The angel is beautiful. An uncle at age 4. One of those families with mother and daughter are having babies at the same time ... no chance of that these days where people wait until the are 40 to have their first child.

Julie said...

I beg to differ. A friend of mine was a great-grandmother at 62.

Gemma Wiseman said...

A sense of child-like peace in this sleeping angel's face highlighted by the little tucked hand! Such a very unusual style and so very beautifully sculpted!

brattcat said...

today, after this gorgeous post, i won't be complaining about my little problem with insomnia.

Kathy said...

I'm constantly on the lookout for angels in cemeteries. This is the first I've seen of an angel in repose. It's beautiful.

Francisca said...

I like the comments others have left. I too noticed the word "departed" and have not seen a reclining angel in a cemetery before. My mother often called a sleeping child a sleeping angel. And just before she died she mentioned that she couldn't imagine a heavier pain than losing one's own child and she was grateful she was going before any of her five children.

CaT said...

ike kathy, im always looking for angels. they come in so many forms and can be so pretty.
but me too, i never saw one quite like this, sleeping!

i do think it depends on culture and religion how big a grave is, and whether there is a statue or not (ofcourse, money is important too).

how sad, that they both died that young.

Jim said...

That's quite a monument. This was closest cemetery for where most Greeks lived in Sydney, so there is a large Greek Orthodox section. It's only in recent years when plots at Botany became scarce, that Rookwood has rivalled it.

Oakland Daily Photo said...

Forgive my ignorance, but why do so many graves have large, heavy slabs covering them and then a raised slab on that? Is it just style and custom or does it serve a function? Here all the effort goes into the grave marker but not a grave cover.

VioletSky said...

I have been wondering about that, too.
The angel is lovely. I haven't found too many angles that are not a hundred years old and this is one of the nicest ones. I can imagine those wings wrapping over the sleeping body to keep the draft off.

Sondra said...

...you found an amazing story there in the cemetery!! The reclining boy/angel is quite beautiful---I have seen the black shiny stones in various cemeteries here...I have often wondered how they stand up to time, seem to show off the engraving and graphics very well.

diane b said...

So sad but a beautiful marker. Sorry I have run out of photos for TT but when I get time and it stops raining I will try to visit some cemeteries.

Deb said...

Such an unusual memorial, angels are usually depicted as watching or sorrowing over the grave. A sleeping angel is a very different approach. The bottom photo is a great capture.

Gene said...

That is an amazing angel. I've never seen one quite like it. It's unusual to see that quality of statue anywhere.

Julie said...

It is unique to my knowledge, Gene. I am figuring it to have been individually carved on commission. But no obvious attribution.

NixBlog said...

Very interesting post, Julie. Greeks generally have bilingual inscriptions on the headstones. so it's interesting to sometimes see English only or GReek only script on the inscription.