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Memorial Union Memorial Union: The Transcendent Tower

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

Crowning Canopies

Derived from the hooded structure over the sacrarium, the basin near a church altar used to wash sacred objects, Gothic canopies are popular in American memorials, especially funerary art. Memorial Tower has two canopies: a highly decorative one over an octagonal pedestal and a simpler tripartite example above the U. S. Coat of Arms. The pedestal’s function is a mystery. None of the architects’ drawings include an object on top of the pedestal, suggesting the space was to remain empty. A grape vine encircles the top of the pedestal. Originally a pagan symbol for Dionysus, the Greek god of wine, the vine represents God’s providence and the Eucharist. The wall behind these structures is also decorated with a series of ogee arches.

Canopy

Masonry

Pedestal

Pedestal

 

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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