Sunday, January 12, 2014

More Ouroboroses

“In the cemetery, a snake biting or eating its tail is a symbol of immortality, rejuvenation, and eternity. It is seldom used in funerary art nowadays, but it was a very popular symbol in nineteenth-century cemeteries. Images of the ouroboros can be found in the art of ancient Egypt (where it symbolized the daily cycle of the sun), China (where it was among the myriad yin and yang symbols), the Roman Empire (where it was associated with Saturn, the god of time), as well as in European and American funerary art.
Ouroboros, Old English Cemetery, Livorno
Beyond symbolizing immortality the ouroboros suggests that for every ending there is a new beginning. In alchemy the ouroboros symbolizes a closed cyclical process (heating, evaporation, cooling, condensation), which refines or purifies substances.”
(Douglas Keister, Stories in Stone: A Field Guide to Cemetery Symbolism and Iconography, 2004)

Ouroboros, Old English Cemetery, Livorno
All of our examples of ouroboros are taken from graves of the Old English Cemetery in Livorno.
Ouroboros, Old English Cemetery, Livorno
We have recently seen how a part this cemetery is in danger, but some uninformed pieces on the local papers are distorting the facts, trying to minimize or ignore the role of the group of volunteers who cleared, kept and maintained the place in the last years. Trying to secure this situation is well beyond the means of these brave people and the cemetery needs any external help available, but without much fuss or sterile polemics.

See also: Ouroboros - Old English Cemetery - Cemetery in Danger
External links: Ouroboros - Old English Cemetery, Livorno (Wikipedia)
Facebook: Salviamo l'Antico Cimitero degli Inglesi di Livorno (Save the Old English Cemetery of Livorno) - Livorno delle Nazioni (Livorno of the Nations)


Jack said...

It is fascinating to learn that this same unusual symbol is used in so many different cultures.

Livorno is fortunate to have generous volunteers at work to save this cemetery.

Randy said...

I normally don't like snakes but I do like what they represent here.

cieldequimper said...

Will these photos be stolen?

Luis Gomez said...

These are great VP. Thank you.

Luis Gomez said...

These are great VP. Thank you.

Dina said...

Many nice examples of the ouroboro.

Say little and do much, the Talmud says. Hoping official help will come to the cemetery.

Traveling Hawk said...

Very interesting presentation. Keep your valuable heritage in Livorno!

JM said...

Really nice trio!

Lois Evensen said...

Fascinating. We like to visit cemeteries and take pictures of the art there, too.

Stefan Jansson said...

The Vikings used it a Millennium ago on the runestones.