The Art of the Cemetery: Lamb

Lambs are sheep less than one year old.  The lamb is a symbol of the fragility of life in many cultures.  Christians, in particular, have adopted the lamb as a religious icon.

It is undeniable that the lamb is one of the most prominent symbols of Christianity.  A sacrificial animal, the lamb represents Jesus Christ as both suffering and triumphant.  The grazing mammal may also symbolize gentleness, innocence, and purity.  Sheep hold strong symbolic significance in the Bible as many Christians see themselves as sheep under the guidance of the Good Shepherd.

In Christianity, lambs are a symbol of childlike vulnerability because of their intrinsically gentle nature and white color.  A powerful Christian symbol, a young sheep is defenseless against any enemy.  These gentle animals represent a symbol for the perfect sacrifice fulfilled in Jesus Christ’s life.  Whereas the wage of sin is death, only an innocent sacrifice can take away the sins of the humanity.

As a symbol for both Christ and his followers, a lamb on a gravestone might show that the person was a devout Christian.  It might also reveal that the departed was hoping to be guided into the next life as a sheep into a pasture.  As a symbol of sacrifice, in certain cases, it could be used for a person who was either innocent in life or sacrificed something significant in their lifetime.  The lamb was predominately used on the graves and urns of children.  This is especially true if there are no other headstone symbols visible.  The lamb was often reserved for the graves of children to symbolize their youth and purity.  Likewise, a lamb communicates small children are naturally loyal to those who lead them.

Woodlawn is an open-air art gallery and living history museum that attracts 100,000 visitors annually. Our memorials represent the largest and finest collection of funerary art in the country. Visit our cemetery and explore 400 acres of art, architecture, and history.

Woodlawn continues to be a non-sectarian cemetery without a specific religious affiliation.