What do Celtic patterns tell?
Today, Celtic designs are popular with tattoo lovers, and salons specializing in this type of body painting offer a variety of different designs. But the bright and fascinating patterns and ornamental compositions created by the masters of this ancient people, not only decoration, but also a symbolic language, telling about what the Celts believed and saw the world around many centuries ago.
Who are the Celts?
Indo-European tribes such as Belgi, Helvets, Biturigs, Arverns, Senons, Boi and many others who had close culture and language, were called Celts. More than three thousand years ago they inhabited vast territories of Western Europe, but scattered and very warlike tribes did not strive for unification, which was the reason for the fall of a rather powerful Celtic culture. The Great Migration of Peoples also contributed to this, when many new tribes and nationalities arrived on the territory of Europe and assimilated with the Celts, also significantly reducing the boundaries of their possessions.However, in the lands they conquered in Brittany and Wales, Ireland, Scotland and Greenland there are Celtic communities that preserve art, beliefs, traditions and customs.
The fruits of a developed technological and material Celtic culture were enjoyed by the neighboring tribes. Early European folklore took from the monuments of literary creativity of this people a lot of plots and characters, such as Isolde and Tristan, the magician Merlin, the knights Lancelot and Persival. Celtic ornaments and patterns that decorated everyday objects and monuments of art, went to the pages of handwritten books and became popular in decorating secular and religious buildings.
When did Celtic art originate?
The most ancient samples of arts and crafts of the Celts can be seen on various household items, jewelry and metal products, weapons. They are decorated with a variety of geometric, plant and animal patterns.
Today it is considered to be the beginning of the Celtic art style of about 800 AD. Oe., when the monks created the Anglo-Irish richly illustrated manuscript, known as the Book of Kells - "The Book of Kells".Thanks to this and other similar books, we can learn about the history and culture of this nation, since the Celts themselves did not leave behind any written evidence.
Features of the "island" art
This is also what the Celtic art is called, which incorporates both pagan and early Christian features. It differs by non-standard, decorative and grace. Celtic patterns in most cases have neither beginning nor end, and form the most complex interlaced straight or curvilinear structures.
The Celts believed that there were only seven primeval forms of life:
- mammals animals;
All of them were included in Celtic patterns, but only in a very strongly transformed and stylized form, so as not to offend the Creator by copying. Figures of animals and birds were depicted with legs, ears, tongues and tails intertwining and forming various spirals.
Geometric and abstract patterns
The earliest Celtic patterns - regular circles and rhombuses, various geometric broken shapes, as well as S-shaped spirals and curls - decorated the dishes.To them masters quite often added certain plant elements, such as images of palm leaves, lotus flowers or bindweed borrowed from the south.
Today, the following forms of Celtic ornaments are best known: knots, crosses, labyrinths, and spirals. In understanding what the Celtic pattern means, one should remember the belief of the ancient Celts in the multiplicity of deaths and lives through which each person passes on his way to the perfection of the world Spirit.
On this basis, each knot of the Celtic ornament is created by a single thread of life. Thus, patterns, knots and ornaments are both symbols and maps of the Life Path.
Animalistic Celtic Patterns and Their Meaning
Around the V century BC. er in Celtic art images of various, including fantastic, birds and animals appear. Thus, the birds symbolized freedom, as well as a spirit that can communicate with the Higher Forces and transmit their messages to the earth. In addition, they accompany the living while traveling, and the dead - on their way to the next world. But each of the birds depicted had a special meaning:
- heron - watchfulness;
- doves - love, spiritual life;
- duck - combines the power of the earthly waters and the heavens (Gods);
- pheasants - help prophets;
- the raven is a symbol of omens and inevitable changes.
Snakes were often included in Celtic patterns, and their significance was quite diverse. These reptiles were considered not only health advocates, bringing magic knowledge for goddess-healers from the depths of the Earth, such as Sirona or Brigante, but also symbols of wisdom. The annual replacement of snake skin has made them a symbol of renewal and regeneration.
Images of white deer, hare, horses, dolphins and dogs, each of which had a divine patron and served it, were also quite often used. Of the mythological animals, dragons are most often found in patterns and ornaments that protect our planet from hostile influences.