Celtic Designs are an integral part of Irish history. The Celtic Knot is one of the more prominent of the Celtic designs.
Celtic knots are a variety of different types of knots created and used by the ancient Celts from the ancient Celtic churches for decorative purposes. Manuscripts like Book of Kells, 8th century St. Teilo Gospels, the Lindisfarne Gospels show that Celtic knots were used for decorative purposes in churches and monuments. The pagan Celtic Christian churches, around 450 AD, used this style or artwork, which mainly comprised of additional knot-work category of life form motifs even before the Celts were influenced by Christianity. Later, missionary expeditions to Europe and Scottish Highlands spread this form of artwork to these regions too. The Irish, Picts, the Scots of Dal Riada, and the Northumbians also embraced this style of decoration. The transfer or knowledge of this artwork was passed on in manuscript paintings and orally and no written documentation is found regarding this.
This art-form enjoyed its golden period in the 7th to 10 the century and later began to decline during the Normans’ invasion. The Gaelic artisans patronized this artwork and style and represented the political and cultural identity of these people and their ancestors. This style of knot-work was adapted and simulated by different cultures too. The Anglo-Saxons adapted this knot-work and developed a new style known as Hibero-Saxon style, which comprised of Saxon and Pictish beast forms into the Celtic artwork. The Irish people always used the unending loops while the Romans used the loose ended forms seen in many occasions.
The Celts initially did not have any special ideas on the patterns used and these mainly designed for secular and religious purposed and simply used to decorate sculptures, jewelry, fill up empty spaces in the manuscripts and Bibles, and in Celtic crosses and jewelry. Interestingly, the interlaced patterns are believed to depict interconnections and continuity of life. The ancient Celts used this knot-work to depict animals and spirals in such intricate patterns that they were called “Work of Angels. ” Each knot would depict a virtue like strength of love.
The intricate pattern of the Celtic knots had aroused the curiosities of many researchers. When the Celtic book like the book of Durrow is studied, it illustrates that the Irish people used colored ribbon patterns, which is used in a specific way. The books of Kells again has vast information on the classic Celtic knots in jewelry and also decorating the four Gospels. The main patterns seen are the interlacing patterns, the spiral patterns, key patterns, braiding, plaiting, and rope-work patterns. The trinity knots depict the three gods/goddesses in ancient Celtic beliefs and the lover’s knot depicts two individuals inter-wined to become one, etc. The spiral pattern represents an individual’s spirit, balancing his inner and outer self. This also represents the Cosmos, the heavens, and earth. One of the examples is the Holy Trinity Knot. These are a few examples of the significance of a few types of Celtic knots. There are many more type of knots, which are interpreted in different ways. However, the personal interpretations may vary from individuals, regionsFree Articles, or cultures when studied and is a vast subject in itself to be studied as a whole.