History 297: 19th-Century Urban Chinese Death Ritual Literature Review

Domain Introduction and Selected Images


My name is Glynnis Farleigh, and I am a second-year student at the University of Mary Washington. I am from Northern Virginia.

In this post, I will be introducing myself, as well as discussing three selected images from Flickr Commons for History 297.

I am pursuing a bachelor’s degree in History alongside a master’s degree in Secondary Education. While social studies teachers are required to be versed in a variety of disciplines, including political science, economics, and geography, it is my goal to one day teach World or United States history.

Past experience with education includes my current job as a lead at a private preschool and Kindergarten, as well as experience volunteering at Mount Vernon’s Hands on History Center, and my local Rec Center Summer Camp programs.

I am interested in history because I am curious about understanding the origins of the culture in which we live, as well as making connections between seemingly disparate events. I am particularly interested in the history of funerary and mourning practices across cultures, the role of women throughout societies, the Victorian Era, and Classical civilizations.

I will be using this blog for academic purposes, not only for History 297, but also, future history and education courses. In addition to this blog, I have a professional educational Instagram account that is linked in the sidebar.

Below you will see three images from Flickr Commons as part of my first History 297 blog post. I selected them because I am both captivated by their beauty, and intrigued by what they tell about the cultures in which they were made.

Full citations may be found here, under the “Citations” tab. 

Figure One – Memorial Card: This image depicts a beautifully ornate British memorial card from 1866 intended to mark the passing Alma Adams, the young child of Jabez and Nancy Adams. The importance of this image lays not in the family it was created for, but rather, its aesthetic value. The Victorian Era lasted from 1831-1901 and was a time that was not yet modernized, but not quite antiquated. After the death of Victoria’s beloved Albert in 1861, Victoria plummetted into an unending cycle of mourning. Her habits influenced her already conservative society to adhere to a detailed set of behavioral requirements following the death of a loved one. While such requirements were strict, they were not free of whimsy and beauty. One facet of mourning was known as “Memento Mori,” or “remembering death,” and encouraged families to keep trinkets, photographs, and cards to memorialize their passed loved ones. Victorian mourning practices have been of great interest to me for roughly five years now, as I am fascinated by their beautifully macabre aesthetics, as well as their cultural relevance. I chose to include this image from Flickr Commons, as I love the “cameo” style effect, the striking attention to detail, and the depiction of Greco-Roman symbolism, such as funerary vases and a dilapidated column.

Figure Two – Phrasikleia Kore: This image is that of Phrasikleia Kore, a funerary monument, circa 550-540 BC. The monument is of Greek origin, dating back to the Archaic period. (800 BC-480 BC.) Last semester in History 121 course, I created a research project on Ancient Greek Funeral Practices. I am intrigued by this monument, as it showcases to passersby how Greek society wished for unmarried young women to be remembered by their feminine nature. Not pictured, but inscribed below the monument, is an epitaph that refers to Phrasikleia forever being known as a maiden (kore) due to the will of the gods. (Flickr Commons)

Figure Three: This final image depicts the Portland Vase, a beautiful black and white cameo-glass container of Roman origin, between the years 5 and 25 AD. This vase is particularly important to me, as it reflects both the color scheme of my wardrobe, which I prefer to keep to only black and white, as well as the cameo necklace that I wear every day. The vase depicts a mythological tale of love and marriage and was likely a wedding gift.

Figure One
Figure Two
Figure Three, Cropped

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.