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Memorial Union Memorial Union: The Transcendent Tower

Figured in Stone: The Arcade Sculptures of Memorial Tower

The north and south (links open new windows) walls of Memorial Tower’s arcade are decorated with Gothic Tudor and lancet arches, in which are inscribed the honorary dedication of Memorial Union and the names of the 117 MU soldiers and sailors who died in World War I. The dedication reads, "In grateful memory of these heroic sons of Missouri who in the Great War (1917–1918) paid the full measure of Devotion." Each wall is also decorated with four inverted torches. An ancient Greek symbol of life and truth, the torch represents Christ and the Dominican Order in a Christian context. An inverted torch is a common funerary motif. These torches consist of reeds bound by vegetal designs. Finials crown the torches and bands of palmettes are on top of their flames. Below each torch is a boss, a knob or protrusion beneath architectonic features, which is carved with high relief sculpture. These eight boss sculptures, along with two more sculptures in between the double door entrances to the union’s wings, have a combination of Christian, funerary, and military iconography.

North Wall (link opens new windows)

South Wall (link opens new windows)

The Brevity of Life

Weeping and Wailing

The Voyage

A Declaration of Victory

Bearing the Burden

The Divine Messenger

Lamenting the Lost

Spreading the Word

Red Cross Relief

The Pursuit of Knowledge

Drawings not used

Medieval Musicians






Memorial Union Exhibition

Exhibition Home

History of Memorial Tower

Making the Memorial

In Memoriam

Signs, Symbols, and Seals: The Sculpture of Memorial Tower

Figured in Stone: The Arcade Sculptures of Memorial Tower

Tradition: Tipping the Cap


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Museum of Art and Archaeology | College of Arts and Science | University of Missouri
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