The intricate Celtic knot motif can be found in many places such as decorative crosses, ancient religious sites, and jewelry and is directly linked to Ireland and the Irish culture. Many of those memorable designs have history and meanings that have survived through generations.
The main characteristic of Celtic knots is their endless loops where there is no discernible beginning or end. But their history is as long and full of beauty as the knots themselves.
First Celtic Art
Before the Christian era, Celtic art included geometric elements such as spirals, steps, and keys. As far back as the third or fourth century CE, the first interlace patterns with knotting, looping, and braiding, began appearing on the British Isles. Centuries later, Celtic and Anglo-Saxon traditions merged to produce a particular type of art in which interlaced themes adorned manuscripts and metalwork, spearheaded by work done by Celtic monks.
An example of some of the earliest knot designs can be viewed in the well-known Book of Kells where its rich borders are decorated with many samples of knotted and braided designs. The style continued enjoying popularity up to the 12th century, and nowadays, knots are considered a beloved part of the symbols that characterize Irish-American culture. Among the most recognizable types of Celtic knot designs, you may find:
The Trinity Knot
Made up of three arcs, this motif is also known as triskele, triquetra, or trefoil knot. Although it is also a part of East Asian Buddhist art, it became popular in Christian traditions and used to illustrate manuscripts and crosses. As of the 19th century, the Celtic cultural revival renamed this knot the Holy Trinity, and it has remained a favorite in Celtic designs.
The Love Knot
Recognized for its never-ending appearance, the love knot is made up of two interlocking hearts joined to create an infinite bond. It was common for lovers to exchange these knots as proof of their feelings for each other. You may find examples of the love knot in Christmas tree ornaments, lockets, keepsake boxes, and other jewelry, all of them ideal gifts for the one you love.
The Sailor’s Knot
With a close relationship to the love knot, the sailor’s knots also hold two hearts within them. Only in this case, they are supposed to remind the sailor or their family back home, expectantly waiting for their return. This knot is a symbol of love, affection, and friendship and can be found on charms and bracelets.
The Shield Knot
This knot has four distinct corners, and they can take on a variety of forms that go from simple to quite elaborate ones. The oldest examples of these knots were found in ancient Mesopotamia, but in the Irish tradition, they were used for protection from opposing armies or spirits. It was common for children, warriors, and the sick to carry a shield knot in some form.
The Dara or Eternity Knot
Inspired by the traditional infinity knots, the Dara knot can be found in a variety of styles that have in common the inspiration they draw from the roots of oak trees which are strong and intertwined. In https://www.celticcrystaldesign.com/collections/celtic-knot-jewelry, you may discover that oak roots have a particular symbolism that connects users who need anchoring with their own inner strength.