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A Timeless Treasure--The Celtic Knot in Celtic Patterns


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The noble people who originated from Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, the Isle of Man and Brittany are known as the Celts. They contributed significantly throughout their history to the arts, and their contributions are widely recognized, even in today's design and handicrafts. Celtic art avoids straight lines, and is ornamental in nature. It only occasionally uses symmetry.

Historians state that Celtic art 'avoids the imitation of nature or ideal of beauty central to the classical tradition'. Celtic art is seen to mirror complicated symbolism that borrows from a mixture of styles. And also, it typically borrows and applies slightly altered design elements from a variety of cultures. This can be learned in the characteristic over-and-under interlacing which came about in the 6th century, although it was already used considerably by the Germanic people.

Although Celtic art appears to have a strong relation to animism and spiritual symbolism, no absolute meaning has been given to this original Celtic symbol; lost over the years is its meaning.

A significant and respected icon among Celtic designs is the traditional Celtic knot. Iconic in its ways to define and explain the timeless magic of Celtic art, the knot motif is frequently shown in the design of jewelry and in stone art, architecture, tattoos, manuscript design,and metal works. Avid travelers, the Celtic people left their artistry behind which was was symbolized in the Celtic Knot.

Seen in a multitude of designs and styles are Celtic knots. Often described by an 'endless' weaving in which there are no beginning or ending points that are obvious to the eye, Celtic knot designs were applied by the Celts to enlighten both manuscripts and Christian monuments. These crosses can be seen in works like the Book of Kells from the 8th century, and Lindisfame Gospels. Celtic knots are also frequently seen in illuminated manuscripts. These knots are delicate, having ornate twists and turns which make patterns of form and symmetry that are quite attractive.

Famous historian, J. Romilly Allen, recognized eight versions of Celtic knots, and he identified that these knots constitute the origins of practically every interlaced pattern found in Celtic decorative art. The Celtic knot's interwoven designs are called plaits, and the design is practically identical to European artwork of the 6th century. Throughout the ages, a multitude of archeological artifacts have been found which are adorned with the Celtic knot.

It is said by some historians that Celtic knots are not recognized to hold any obvious, identifiable philosophical or religious significance. That said, the Celtic knot's intricacy and attention to detail and form is stated to mimic the intricacy of all Natural forms. To put it another way, the Celts constructed their design, including the interwoven intricacy of Celtic knots, to be as detailed as possible, simply because they were able and skilled enough to do so. From a historical perspective, however, Celtic knots are held as symbols of protection, and these knots ward off evil spirits according to popular belief. Wiccans also identify the Celtic knot as having a certain extent of magical properties and are frequently used as charms and talismans.

Ornate, beautiful and intricate, Celtic knots are an art form unto themselves. The Celtic knot stands out as one of society's most significant and iconic designs attributed to Celtic culture, and upholds a deep worldwide and historical meaning in its representation and its symbolism.

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