catafalque, catafalco

views updated

catafalque, catafalco. Stage or platform on which a coffin or effigy of a deceased person is placed. It may take the form of a temporary structure, decorated or hung with draperies, used in funeral ceremonies, or as a permanent one, with rollers on top to facilitate the sliding of coffins, and capable of being lowered, as in the fine example (1838) in the Anglican Chapel, General Cemetery of All Souls, Kensal Green, London, where it could carry the coffin down to the catacomb below. The Kensal Green catafalque also has a swivelling top to aid the handling of the coffin. Permanent catafalques are features found in crematoria, while impermanent examples have been features of elaborate funeral ceremonies.


J. Curl (ed.) (2001);
Popelka (1994)