Portraits in Stone – BillionGraves Tombstone Tuesdays January 21, 2020

I checked BillionGraves earlier and saw this –  Portraits in Stone: https://blog.billiongraves.com/portraits-in-stone/. Thought it made a good Tombstone Tuesdays post.

Families have been immortalizing their loved ones with portraits in stone on their gravesites for thousands of years. After all, it’s hard to lose the people you love. So we rationalize that if we could have just one last look at their face, it might bring us comfort and strength – even if that face is now a sculpture made of granite or marble.

Portraits in stone were especially popular during the late 19th-century. But looking back even further, they were also commissioned by the upper class during the Middle Ages and by royalty in ancient times.

This blog post explores portraits in stone from graves around the world and across the ages.

The Terracotta Warriors

Long before cemetery statues were carved out of stone, the Chinese perfected the art of creating human figures out of clay for burial sites.


One of the most magnificent tombs of all time was discovered in the Lintong District, containing more than 8,000 terracotta sculptures of warriors. The figures were placed there in 210- 209 BC to protect Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China, in his afterlife.

Remarkably, the face of each soldier is unique. Artisans used eight different molds to make the heads, but then each one was given custom features.

Emperor Qin is the same emperor who had the Great Wall of China built, so it makes sense that his tomb is equally impressive. Along with the terracotta figures, there are hundreds of horses, chariots and the remains of a palace, offices, storehouses, and stables.

The original ceiling was modeled after a night sky, studded with pearls for stars.

The excavated portion of the tomb covers about 20 square miles. That sounds huge, but even so, less than 1 percent of Emperor Qin’s tomb has been uncovered.

Why has the tomb gone mostly undisturbed for more than two millennia? Well, because it is surrounded by an underground moat of poisonous mercury.

Medieval Portraits in Stone


Saint Peter


Religious Portraits in Stone


Grieving Portraits in Stone


Children’s Portraits in Stone


Family Portraits in Stone


Youth Portraits in Stone


Inspirational Portraits in Stone


Previous Tombstone Tuesdays posts: https://upsdownsfamilyhistory.wordpress.com/tag/Tombstone-tuesday/

About Wichita Genealogist

Originally from Gulfport, Mississippi. Live in Wichita, Kansas now. I suffer Bipolar I, ultra-ultra rapid cycling, mixed episodes. Blog on a variety of topics - genealogy, DNA, mental health, among others. Let's collaborateDealspotr.com
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