THE EMOTIONAL VALUE OF JEWELLERY: “Offering jewellery to the ones who can not wear it: Burying the dead with jewellery, adorning icons with jewellery in contemporary Greece.” Part 5/7

A pitch by Loukia Richards for the JEWELLERY MATTERS International Symposium at Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, 16 November 2017. You may read Part 1/2/3/4  by scrolling down blog updates.

Photo credit: Christoph Ziegler/Loukia Richards

Picture #1.

Those who die unmarried are crowned at their funeral with a wedding wreath immitating a lemon tree branch – symbol of fertility.

Their funeral is their wedding to Hades.

The Greek square cross pendant worn by this lady – a pre-Christian motif of spiritual uplifting – is the ultimate talisman in life and death.

Picture #2.

Bones are kept in metall boxes often placed on the grave.

The Orthodox church prohibits cremation for the body awaits Jesus’ Second Coming to rise again.

Cemetery regulations oblige relatives to report jewellery they buried with the dead or
it will be confiscated after the exhumation.

Picture #3.

Gangs robbing graves for the jewellery adorning the dead made headlines in Greece in the last two years.

Bones are usually stored in ossuaries.

After the exhumation, bones are washed with red wine, enwrapped in linen cloth, the eye holes filled with red carnations.

The ritual means: Returning to the womb.


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