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Traditionally, medieval tomb imagery was concerned with the expression of hope for the salvation of the deceased. Tomb figures of the 13th and 14th centuries in Northern Europe portrayed the deceased in a state of ideal beauty. The hands were folded in prayer, the eyes open, and the face calm, expressing confidence in God's mercy and in salvation...

In the last years of the 14th century, a new and strikingly different type of sepulchral monument, the transi tomb, appeared in several places in Northern Europe. On these tombs the traditional idealized portrayal of the deceased was replaced by a gruesome depiction of the physical ravages of death...


Copyright by Kathleen Rogers Cohen. At the time of publication Kathleen Cohen was not yet affiliated with San Jose State University.