Monday, December 17, 2012

Tree Shaped Tombstones-Pull up a Chair

In a post on particularly sad tree shaped memorials I showed a picture of what I have come to think of as "a widow's chair", in the form of a tree shaped seat overlooking the tree shaped tombstone of a man described as "My Husband".  I thought it was a unique, a one off project for some sympathetic stone carver.  So imagine my surprise when I found, in a back corner of a cemetery in Hastings Minnesota, a group of three such chairs!

This is somewhat similar to the previous "widow's chair" but a bit better done stylistically.  And it has the family name emblazoned on it.  Nearby a chair of a type I had never seen before:

It seems a little low to the ground for comfort, but it is nicely realistic.  It actually looks like what you would get by carving up a stump.  And on the front:

Again the family name carved in the front of the chair.  Around the corner it has a twin.

A slightly different style, and the name is on the front of the seat rather than the front of the stump.  But it would seem likely they are the work of the same carver.

"Widow's Chairs" should exist in relationship to a central point, a monument to which the attention of the mourner would be directed.  Interestingly in these cases the monuments were not tree shaped but rather generic.  Here are the Rice and Van Auken "chairs" in context..

Interestingly these units are sometimes called "Mourning Chairs" or if you are of a spooky mindset,  Devil's Chairs.  The Wiki entry at the link has a nice sample of a "Tree Shaped Bench".  These seem to be more common in the Pacific Northwest region.  I have yet to encounter one, but have a lead on an example to look up in the spring.

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