The dove is the most frequently seen animal symbol in the cemetery. It is portrayed in a number of poses, but most frequently it is seen holding an olive branch, a reference to the dove sent out by Noah to search for land as explained in Genesis 8:10-11: And he stayed yet other seven days; and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark; And the dove came in to him in the evening; and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf pluckt off: so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth. The dove then became a symbol of purity and peace because God had made peace with man.
Agnes DeiLamb of God
In funerary art, lambs usually mark the graves of children and particularly infants, symbolizing innocence. The lamb is one of the most frequently used symbols of Christ in all periods of Christian art. Christ is often depicted as a shepherd, but he is also referred to as the Lamb of God, as in St. John 1:29: Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world!
A lamb with a cross or with a banner or halo or all of the accessories is the symbol for the Lamb of God. Christ is the Lamb of God. In addition to the cross, banner and halo, there are a number of other accessories that may be portrayed with the lamb. Among these are shepherds crooks, Chi-Rho crosses, and the Alpha and Omega symbols. If the lamb is portrayed without any additional items, it is a symbol of innocence and is frequently found on children’s graves. Accessorized, the lamb is almost always the Agnes Dei.
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