Celtic designs stem from ancient times and continue to fascinate and enthrall modern artists and art lovers. The art forms are often used as a base for modern art. As Celts once loosely ruled Europe their artwork has played an influential role in many cultures across the continent. Celtic designs are made up of spirals, knot work, animal forms and zoomorphic illustrations.
Favorite Celtic designs in modern times
Celtic designs are very symbolic and those wanting to use these designs in their artwork would like to use it in the same context as the artists of old. There are however very few accepted meanings of Celtic art. The symbolism depicted in Celtic knot work is seen to be the crossing of the spiritual with the physical paths in our lives. This is a condition that affects every life on earth and many art critics believe that the art work should depict the same meaning in the ancient as well as in the modern art.
There are others that claim that Celtic design symbols are timeless and can be used by artists in a variety of ways and manners, regardless of the traditional symbolic meaning designs. A true symbolic meaning for the various Celtic knot designs has ended up as one huge debatable issue and many designers simply use the beautiful and intricate designs for their own purpose. The many artists and designers that make use of the Celtic knots and interlace designs do so merely for decorative purposes only.
The triquetrous or threefold knot is considered a very sacred number and is referred to as the Holy Trinity. There is no evidence however that there are other knots that specifically represent any other biblical figure or symbol. The threefold knot has also been criticized for being purely ornamental and has absolutely no connection to the Holy Trinity. Celtic interlace has been widely used since the 7th century and mostly for decorative purposes on crosses etc.
A knot that has a closed path is called an eternity knot. As there is no beginning or end it may symbolize continuum. Many art scholars debate the fact that this is what was intended by the original artists. Knot work is depicted as a heritage emblem and anything that will reinforce the standing of the tradition is very welcome to use.
The lover’s knot is the most common knot as it merely links two paths that have crossed. They are also known as the ‘Josephine knot” or the ‘granny knot’. The lover’s knot can be considered as a very romantic and intimate knot as the physical and spiritual paths of the lovers have linked. Heart knots are as ancient as Celtic art itself but artists have found new ways in expressing the symbol. The knots represent a symbol of love and are widely used in jewelry and other designs.
The Celtic Cross
Of all the designs made by Celts over the centuries the Celtic cross is probably the most powerful design of them all. The cross was adopted by the Christian church and used for centuries as an artifact. It was recently discovered and proved by a Scottish navigator that the cross was in existence long before the Christian religion took effect in Europe. The cross was also discovered on ancient Scandinavian rock art – long before the existence of the Christian religion. The navigator, EM Miller, made the awesome discovery that the cross was used for navigational purposes. He went on to prove that the instrument was also used in surveying and was sure that that was how the pyramids were built. Mr. Miller was convinced that the cross was developed by the Druids and that they had access to a higher knowledge.
Celtic design patterns have been calculated to go as far back as 2500 years and have given the world a whole new perspective of the spiritual and cultural values of these ancient people. They are no longer perceived as bloodthirsty and warmongering tribal bands that often fought each other just for the sake of fighting. Their artistic designs suggest intelligent, wealthy and strong cultural societies that have very intimate relationships with nature. The Celtic influence on European art and culture has been tremendous.