The hourglass symbolizes the unstoppable time that is passing, the ineluctable advacement of life and its inevitable end in death. After the 6th century, the representations of death, of skeleton or of the body in putrefaction were progressively replaced by symbolic images or by simple objects like the hourglass and the scythe, which are typical of the personification of time. The movement of the sand in the hourglass is downward and it could symbolize the man going back to the earth. Moreover the two parts of the hourglass are in turn full and void. In some representations, not only in the nineteenth-century funerary art, the hourglass is represented as winged. Wings are the symbol of movement and of change. The feet of Mercury, companion of the dead's soul, are winged. Thanatos and Hypnos as well as demons and angels, are winged too.
For an introduction to funerary symbols click here
Traduzione a cura della classe 3^D del Liceo “Laura Bassi” di Bologna (Anastasia Bello, Freddy Arko, Jennifer Ortisi), nell'ambito del progetto "Alternanza Scuola - lavoro", AS. 2016-2017.