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161. scissors & knife

Scissors & knife, Recoleta Cemetery

It’s difficult to believe that no other reference exists online regarding this image in cemeteries. Scissors can represent the profession of tailor or seamstress, but not in this case. The above image is found only on the front gate so the symbolism would be more general.

Another option might be a representation of The Fates, three sisters which several ancient cultures believed controlled all destiny. In the Greek version Clotho gathered material & spun the thread, Lachesis measured the thread, & Atropos cut the thread with her scissors… the end of a life. Standard depictions of Atropos show her scissors open, ready to cut the thread. The cemetery image has closed scissors paired with a knife. Big mystery.

My favorite version the sisters is “Time & Fates of Man” by American sculptor Paul Manship as part of an enormous sundial for the 1939 World’s Fair in New York City. He’s mainly known for the Prometheus Fountain in Rockefeller Center, but this was equally as impressive. The last photo is courtesy of the Life magazine archive hosted on Google:

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Paul Manship, World's Fair New York City

Published in:Symbols

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