The Symbolism of Celtic Knotwork

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John Urban is a master jeweller who has been handcrafting fine jewelery since 1974. John thrives on creating Celtic Wedding Rings with select works of interwoven art that ring true, with beauty on the surface, and meaning from within.

JOHN URBAN Jewelry COLLECTIONS:
     Celtic Rings for Wedding,   Engagement, Committment,   Love:
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- Unique Wedding Rings For 3 Diamonds
- Unique Engagement Rings For One Diamond, Or Precious Stone
- Rings With Celtic Animal   Designs
- Rings With Spirals, Triskels,   La Tène, and Celtic Knot   Designs
- Celtic Inscription Rings
- One of a kind Celtic Rings
     Other Celtic Jewelry:
- Celtic Earrings
- Celtic Cufflinks
Ordering Info
- Necessary Reading:   Accurate Finger Sizing
- Celtic Symbolism,    Background, Links
Some Earlier Work, Still Available:
- One of a kind Wedding   Rings,  Engagement Rings   with Precious Gems
- Leaf and House Rings
- Cicada Wing Earrings
     UNMOUNTED GEMSTONES:
- HYDROPHANE OPALS
ARTIST'S BIO
Sculpture For Sale:'What I Always Wanted'
BIO: 1971-Present

Why are gemstone settings not offered for more of your Celtic animal patterns?Good question! I would love to, if I could, but...all rings require a blank space at the bottom of the ring for hallmark stamping, and sizing. Then, for a stone setting, another space is also needed where the stone is to be placed. Most of my Celtic animal patterns are indivisible, and simply too long for this.



The Symbolism of Celtic Knot work

The interwoven designs featured in much of my current work derive from the Celtic culture of early Britain. The Celts, who had no written language, managed to express an enormous amount about how they saw their world through their art and craftwork.

The Celts were Druids, nature worshipers, who were convinced that all things in Nature are connected and interdependent; the plants, the animals, the earth and its forces, and themselves. Their visual expression of this belief often featured stylized animals intertwined like vines, in complex, unbroken knots, without beginning or end.

As Christianity spread throughout Britain, it absorbed much of the Celtic culture and style. Because religious artwork featuring animals was considered pagan by the early missionaries, Celtic interweavings gradually became simplified into the exquisite knotted-ribbon designs you see today, without animal heads or feet.

This concept of profound interdependence, expressed by the ancient Celtic interweavings, is perhaps even more relevant to those who are seeking an appropriate symbol for marriage.


General Celtic Background Information

Celtic traditional arts feature designs and images that seem to be trying to tell us something. That feeling is correct. Celtic art is full of messages.

Because many people have asked about the significance of these Celtic patterns, I should tell you that their significance is not about the dogs or birds represented, but about what these animals and geometric shapes symbolized it the ancient Celts. The dogs, for example, are stylized Irish Wolfhounds, which were symbols for loyalty, faithfulness, unconditional love courage, and strength.

The Celts, who avoided written language, wrote no books, other than the Gospels they transcribed. Nevertheless they managed to express an enormous amount about how they saw their world, through their arts and crafts. To a Celt of that time, their interweaves an other patterns would have been recognizable and understandable, and many of them probably served as illustrations, or visual reminders, of stories regarding their history and culture, which they would have had to memorize, as none of it was allowed to be written down, for fear that their knowledge could fall into the hands of their enemies. Apparently, their repertoire of animal and geometric designs constitutes a vocabulary, while the way in which these elements are arranged creates the grammar, in their stories told without written words.

An art form can be shared by many people across boundaries of culture, even time itself; It remains intelligible to one who has learned to read the form. From what remains today of Celtic culture, and from indirect accounts in ancient Greek and Roman chronicles, plus the efforts of researchers patiently trying to reassemble the jigsaw puzzle of Celtic culture, with many pieces lost to history, a picture has emerged, and there is general agreement on many points.

The Celts were Druidic nature worshippers, and they were convinced that all things in Nature are connected and interdependent; the plants, the animals, the earth and its forces, and themselves. Their visual expression of this belief often featured stylized animals intertwined like vines, in complex, unbroken knots, without beginning or end.

In the Celtic world, the common denominator in all the variations of interweaves they created is a concept of profound interdependence, a joyous interdependence of everything and everyone, which I am convinced is picked up today and appreciated by people who are on the same wavelength. The concept of profound interdependence, expressed by the ancient Celtic interweavings, is perhaps even more relevant in today's world. Part of the reason that Celtic art draws you in is that is springs from a view of life that is the complete opposite of alienation. They felt intrigued, not alienated, and though human lives come to an end, they saw death as part of the process, and were enthusiastic, confident, and secure in their belief that they would be reborn again, endlessly. Their feeling of being a part of life, and belief in reincarnation was so strong, that their lack of fear of death became legendary, as even Julius Caesar had to admit.

Other things expressed in Celtic art are their love of life, love of organic beauty, and a sensitivity to natural form. They avoided sterile symmetry and repetition, and instead encouraged originality and variation in their arts and crafts and in their lives as well. Individuality was highly valued, their imaginations were in high gear, and it is rare to find Celtic artifacts that look identical to one another. Predictability seemed very boring to the Celtic mind.

As Christianity spread throughout the Celtic world, it absorbed much of the Celtic culture and style. Because religious artwork featuring animals was considered pagan by the Roman Church, Celtic interweavings gradually became simplified into the exquisite knotted-ribbon designs you see today, without heads or feet.

- John Urban


Your personal Celtic designs

If you have an idea for a celtic design, but no finished images for us to work with, you may wish to contact Cari Buziak at http://www.aon-celtic.com/ for design assistance with your Celtic pattern idea. At this time we are only able to work from finished images if you can supply them. RELATED HIGH-QUALITY CELTIC LINKS:

ARTIST-TEACHERS OF CELTIC DESIGN
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