Skip to main content

Gravestone Carvings in Early New England - An introduction to the exhibition of rubbings

Just as the North Coast Indians carved totem poles, the Vikings cut runic inscriptions on massive monoliths, and the Romans, Egyptians, Chinese and Mayas decorated their tombs, so the American colonists followed a traditional pattern of commemorating their dead with stonegraven images.

Here, perhaps for the only time in the annals of early American design, the artist was free to create an object representing his feelings, beliefs and philosophy. In almost all other areas of Colonial crafts, the first consideration was utilitarian; houses, tools, utensils, and furniture were quite often beautiful, but it was in gravestone carving that the ...

Read Full Article

Support the Folklife Festival, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, sustainability projects, educational outreach, and more.