3 Adaptations That Animals Have That Plants Do Not Have Celtic Love Knot Designs

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Celtic Love Knot Designs

Celtic knots are a variety of endless knots adopted by the ancient Celts who used them for decoration. The knot is perhaps best known from its adaptation in the decoration of Christian icons and manuscripts.

History and Significance

Celtic love knots first appeared in the 3rd or 4th centuries AD, having their origins in the artwork of the later Roman Empire. Many patterns can still be seen today in Roman floor mosaics.

The Celts perfected spirals, step patterns, and key patterns in their motifs before Christian influence in about 450 AD changed this. From then on this form of Celtic art was used by early Christians to decorate their manuscripts, adding depictions from life such as animals and plants. These early patterns were called braids and it is these intricate cords that are most commonly associated with the Celts.

In fact braidwork predates knotwork originating in Northern Italy and Southern Gaul before spreading to Ireland around the 7th century. Today Celtic love knot work patterns are a form of identification and national pride for many people living in Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Eight elemental knots have been identified that form the basis of almost all designs of this Celtic artwork, but there is no evidence that these knots have any religious or philosophical significance, other than that it shows the intricate work that people can do.

Symbolism

Celtic love knot patterns consist of complete loops that have neither beginning nor end. Animals are often found intertwining these cords, and any Celtic designer skilled in more sophisticated knot work will never leave a loose end in a thread unless styled into a spiral element.

In the language of love, Celtic knotwork defies literal translation; its meaning must be sought at a deeper level. The oft-repeated transitions depict the physical and the spiritual, expressed in the intertwining of knots, while the thread that has a beginning and no end represents the permanence and continuity of life, love and faith.

Many ancient knots do not have a single path but several closed paths that are woven together and these can be seen as a metaphor for the interweaving of life and it is these patterns that are often called love knots.

Celtic art carries with it a secret language that today makes it so fascinating and many believe the myth that every detail of Celtic art is symbolic, however many myths carry with them a lesson of truth, so symbolism that has been lost over the centuries is kept alive by those who study the old traditions and help keep them alive today.

Love Knot Patterns

The love knot represents two people bound by love, depicted by two interlaced knots from the surface. The lovers exchanged love knots to acknowledge their feelings. Today there are many variations of the design, but what they all have in common is that they are a representation of true love.

The Oval or Celtic Spiral is the simplest form of the love knot that shows the eternity of life; this design dates back to 2500 BC made by early generations of European Celts, Scots, Welsh and Irish.

The Triple Drop love knot has three sides which is the embodiment of the three forces of nature which are earth, water and fire, while a continuous line represents unity, strength, spirit and being.

The round Celtic love knot was much admired by the ancient Celts as the other shape indicated the orb of the sun while the three interlocking spiral knots depicted the three forces of nature. There is also a Celtic square love knot, whose single continuous line embodies love and loyalty; believed to have originated in Scotland.

Considered a sign of good luck, the Celtic four love knot has four distinct intertwined circles representing the four seasons, while around the edge are double lines signifying love or friendship between two people.

Not to be forgotten is the love knot of the Serpent, which is taken from the Irish Book of Kells. This design shows a snake knot that has intricate patterns that are meant to last for eternal life.

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