Celtic Knots – Meaningless yet Meaningful!
Take a look at this work of art.
For someone, who only glances at it, they might say, “looks good, but it’s meaningless”. But did you know that this is a Celtic Love Knot? If you look at the pendant closely, you will find that the endless knotwork is actually holding 8 hearts bound by a circle (the Celtic Circle). Upon much closer examination, you will also be able to observe that within the endless design, there exists the runic interpretation of love, which is ‘X’.
The meanings of Celtic knots is a topic that is debated a lot across the world. These knots date back to the 7th century, and over years, the way they have been interpreted has changed a lot.
Despite the complexities of the knot, they are known to depict life, love, friendship, loyalty, protection, strength, courage and many attributes of life.
Celtic Knotwork – Their Origins and History
The origins of knotwork date back to the 7th century, and this art was first known to have began in Ireland, Northern England and Scotland. Celtic monks are known to have played a huge role in spreading this artwork across Northern Europe. But then again, it is also contemplated that this knotwork could also have been influenced by the same from Middle East and the techniques of Coptic Scribal from Egypt.
Between the 7th and the centuries, Celtic knotwork was one of the most used in ornaments, and it was considered to be the most sophisticated and complex works of the time. During the Middle Ages, this work of art reached its peak, especially in the Scottish Highlands. By the 18th century, knotwork has become both a cultural and political identity.
Several Knots and Their Inner Meaning
There is a lot to these Celtic knots than that meet the eye. This work of art was first put into practice to glorify Gospels. Slowly, the work began to be used in brooches. But as modern artists came into picture, they began to use knotwork more as a design than for their message.
Apart from the ‘love knot’, there are several other Celtic knotwork forms that exist. Let us look at a few –
- Eternity knot – represents the eternal cycle of life
- Trinity knot – was first used as a symbol by the Irish catholics
- Cross – a symbol of faith for Celtics
- Shield knot – used for protection
- Claddagh – used to represent friendship, love and loyalty
- Shamrock – represents the Trinity symbol
- Sailor’s knot – also called the ‘lover’s knot’, represents ones sweetheart
- Celtic Love Knots
The knot that we observed at the beginning of this article, is the traditional Celtic Love Knot. It represents the union of two souls, and to date this design is used in wedding rings.
But apart from this, there are several other types of love knots like Triple Drop, Oval, Round, Four and Square.
Apart from the ornaments and jewelry, Celtic knots are also now being used in tattooing. Be it to express your undying love, faith or friendship, Celtic knots have not lost their charm for 14 centuries now. This goes to show the beauty of this knotwork and the universal appeal that it has.