Celtic artwork is intricate and rarely makes use of straight lines, instead its lines are flowing and intertwining which often emulates weaving.
The best recognized of all Celtic symbols is the knot which has today become and iconic way to define the beauty of Celtic knot art. This motif is used in the design and construction of not only jewelry and tattoo work, but can also be seen adorning metal and stone work, in Christian manuscripts and in architecture. Wherever this nomadic culture went they left their mark which was often the knot.
Celtic knot symbols are characterized by the endless weaving which has no discernable beginning and no ending. There are many designs and styles of Celtic knots dating back to ancient times and these knots were so revered that they were adopted by Christians to adorn their manuscripts and Gospels. These knots are delicate and show twisting and beautiful forms of symmetry. In fact they appear as far back as the 8th century in the Book of Kells. The interweaving of these knots are referred to as plaits.
Historians believe that the Celtic knots have religious significance that shows in their detail and form and which are said to reflect the intricacy of all things natural. They are also believed to have symbolic protection and were heralded with being able to ward off evil spirits. Even today they are used as charms and modern day Wicca's believe that they have magical properties. There are however, no written reports that exist to tell us what they were originally created for.
Celtic knots are not only beautiful they are ornate and intricate so it is not surprising that this ancient form of art work has survived, becoming one of the worlds most identifiable art forms that still hold deep historical and religious symbolism.
Father daughter Celtic knots
One Celtic knot that stands out because it is so unusual is the Father Daughter knot. Legend tells the story of a mythical woman called Bridget and her father. Bridget sat close to her father as he was dying; as she mediated she began weaving a Celtic knot out of the rushes near the river. As she was weaving her father noticed that she was making knots and asked her to explain what she was doing. She told him about the significance of the knots and as a result he was moved to accept Christianity before he died.
Meaning of Knots
The meaning of these knots lies in the eyes of those who create them while their symbolic meaning point to the relationship we have with the universe and life. The endless strands tie us together as each generation passes and tells how we are interwoven with those around us as we continue into eternity. They remind us of how we are all interconnected to that in life and to those in the after life. Each knot cannot be separated from the whole just as the relationship we have with each other cannot be separated.
The Celtic Trinity knot represents unending love whether it be between lovers, spouses, family or friends as well as the love that exists between father and daughter or parent and child.
The Celtic knot has many varieties which are all symbolized by endless knots and stylized graphical representations. The interlacing patterns first appeared in about the 4th century AD. The spirals, step patterns and key patterns are dominant in the designs found before this time. There are eight elementary knots forming the basis of almost all interlacing patterns.
The original meaning was triangle and this type of knot is used to symbolize things and people that are threefold such Mother, Daughter and Grandmother - Past, Present and Future -or the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. They are found on many ancient rune stones and on early Germanic coins. Triquetras are also depicted in the Book of Kells, on metal work, stone etchings and in Christian manuscripts.
They are widely recognized as being Celtic symbols and in Neo-paganism are used to depict cosmology and in theology while modern day Wicca's use it to symbolize their connection to the existence of mind, body and soul.