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No, that's not the latest hot new band. :p It's the subject of my current contemplation.

Let me tell you about my favoritest shirt ever. It's a black long-sleeved T-shirt by Gravestone Artwear, whose products feature the designs of 17th century US tombstone iconography.

On the front of my shirt, rendered in white, is a design from the stone of Susanna Jayne, buried in 1776 in Old Burial Hill, Marblehead, MA. This piece is about 11.5" square!



http://www.oddpla.net/blog/misc/shirt/front.jpg

The Jayne stone's carver, Henry Christian Geyer, apparently decided to cram the entire contents of Ye Olde Pockette Guide to Ye Symbolisme of Deathe onto one slab. Actual photos of the stone show even more symbols than just appear on my shirt.

Anyway, on my shirt, you've got your winged death's-heads in the upper corners representing the soul or possibly angels.

http://www.oddpla.net/blog/misc/shirt/angels.jpg

Your bats in the lower corners stand in for Hell.

http://www.oddpla.net/blog/misc/shirt/bats.jpg

The ouroboros -- the snake eating its own tail -- denotes eternity, while the skeleton with the scythe depicts your Grim Reaper or Death personified. You've got your scythe for the swift passage of time and your laurel headdress to indicate the eventual triumph of death over all, while your sun and your moon reinforce the universality of death. I'm surprised that a winged hourglass [for your swift passage of time again] doesn't appear in the mix, but that's actually above this section of the stone, at the top. Now you too can be a walking encyclopedia of New England cemetery iconography!

But wait...we're not done. Just for good measure and true comprehensiveness, I chose to have the sleeves of my shirt decorated with smaller designs. While not specifically found on the Jayne stone, these carvings appear on many stones of the same era throughout the region. From the top, we have a coffin [head cut off...whoops!], a pick and mattock for grave digging, another death's-head, followed by some crossed bones.

http://www.oddpla.net/blog/misc/shirt/sleeves.jpg

Tragically, I retired this shirt a long time ago because I tried to open a jar lid by using the cuff of one sleeve for leverage. The stupid jar lid cut holes in the cuff. I didn't want the shirt to fray and the holes to grow bigger, so I folded it up and stored it in a drawer with my other clothing that has sentimental associations.

Anyway, I was brainstorming sources of black and white fabric to use for 1:6 scale throw pillows on the couch in the previous entry to kill some of the pinkitude. I was thinking about skulls and crossbones, which are typically black on a white background or vice versa. As I thought about purchasing some cotton print fabric, I realized that my favoritest shirt, which lurked unused in a drawer, contained just the grave designs I was looking for!!!

I am now thinking that I will cut up my good and faithful servant to repurpose it for 1:6 scale uses. I can use some of the small designs on the sleeves as the fronts for throw pillows. Some of the black fabric can be turned into a drape for the back of the couch and possibly new covers for the bolster pillows.

I am also  thinking about cutting out the huge front square with the Jayne design and turning it into a tapestry to hang over the couch. That would be fucking hilarious, especially with the pink in the couch, but it also might be cemetery symbolism overkill. I mean, seriously...in 1:6 scale, it would be about 36 square feet [11.5" in 1:1 = 5.75' in 1:6] of DEATH, which is a little much, even for a zombie. It would be more prudent to go with the 5" square decal of the same design, which is only 6.25 square feet of DEATH in 1:6 scale.

Clearly, whoever owns this couch and wall hanging is a serious cemetery nerd. I bet they wear T-shirts with headstones on them, belong to the Vermont Old Cemetery Association, as well as the Association for Gravestone Studies and possibly the New England Cemetery Association as well. They are ecstatic to learn that back issues of the annual journal of AGS has been digitized and made available in free PDFs through the Special Collections of UMass Amherst Library.

This person is totally not me at all. I don't belong to any of those organizations [yet]. :p

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