Unique gravestones from around the world

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Would you like to be buried with a gravestone that just says ‘Dead’? We’ve put together a list of creative and surprising gravestones from around the world, including a coffee cup on a holy mountain and a mysterious floating head.

Patrick Caulfield's gravestone with the text 'Dead.'
Image by Paasikivi.


This straight-to-the-point minimalist gravestone can be found in Highgate Cemetery. It belongs to the artist and printmaker Patrick Caulfield (1936-2005) who was also responsible for his gravestone’s design. Thanks to Caulfield’s wry sense of humour, his grave has taken its place alongside other Highgate landmarks like Karl Marx’s imposing giant head.

Coffee cup grave in Okunoin Cemetery.
Image by Latitude65.

Coffee and spaceships on a holy mountain

Okunoin Cemetery is located on Koyasan, one of Japan’s holiest mountains. Settled in the 9th century by Kobo Daishi, the founder of Shingon Buddhism, this gorgeous Unesco-protected temple complex has ancient and modern graves.

The newer graveyard is famous for its unique monuments which include a coffee cup and spaceship. In the older section, you'll find a grave which promises you’ll hear the screams of sinners in hell if you press your ear against the stone.

Yuri Nikulin's grave.
Image by Stewie1980.

Celebrating life in the Russian circus

Yuri Vladimirovich Nikulin (1921-1997) was a popular Soviet actor and clown who belonged to the Moscow Circus. This People’s Artist of the USSR and Hero of Socialist Labour recipient is buried in Moscow’s Novodevichy Cemetery. His charming and slightly melancholy gravestone conjures up a real sense of personality.

Fernand Arbelot's grave, stone carving of man lying down and holding stone head
Image by thirteenghosts.

Gazing into the eyes of his wife?

Nobody quite knows why Fernand Arbelot (1880-1942) wanted a gravestone that shows him holding a woman’s disembodied head — she’s generally interpreted to be his wife. While not much is known about Arbelot’s life, his gravestone has certainly kept the memory of his relationship alive.

Jim Stanford Horn's grave, to look like Penguin Book cover
Image by Pierre-Yves Beaudouin.

A grave for book lovers

Jim Stanford Horn’s Highgate Cemetery gravestone has been an enduring delight for book lovers. There isn’t much information publicly available about Horn’s life, but it’s easy to recognise a kindred spirit in a man buried under a gravestone shaped like a book. What better way to be remembered than by a symbol of what you loved?

Find seven things you need to know about choosing a memorial stone or check out this collection of incredible coffins.

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