Before jumping to my Celtic Stencils, a little bit of historic information...
Nobody knows where the Celts came from, but we do know that this tribe was spread over Europe especially in the Atlantic seaboard (Britain, Ireland, Brittany, Galicia) and also in other parts of the continent since prehistoric time: France, Switzerland, Southern Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, Northen Italy, the Balkans and Turkey.
When Ireland was Christianized under the Influence of the Great visionary Gregorius Magnus, the idea was to do it with love, delicacy and respect of the previous believes (despite today tendency to see Christianization as a negative event).
So, sacred places of, say, Celtic origin were kept as such. Because, it was reasoned, the quest for God within humankind has been always present since the very beginning: Christianity would simply explain who God was and even gave him a face, that of a real person, Jesus Christ.
This long introduction is to explain why Celtic art merged with Christianity to produce that wonderful product which is the "Book of Kells" , today in the Trinity College Library of Dublin. The book measure 33cm x 25cm and uses ink on vellum and is a latin version of the four Gospel based on a vulgate of the Bible written by St. Jerome in 384 AD.
You can find some celtic clip art I am making in this website that I created about vector graphics and with free vector art to download::
Google images of the Book of Keels, where Celtic art meets Christianity
Interlaced patterns, (probably an influence of Roman floor mosaics) are a key characteristic of Celtic decorative art. Example taken from a belt buckle (see below)
Interlaced celtic belt buckle (Source, wiki)
The pattern has been taken for inspirations for later Christian art such as the following leaves decoration on the bronze door of the San Zeno church in verona, Italy.
The scene narrates the Gospel story of two women arriving at the empty tomb of Christ, greeted by an angel. The panel was probably remade by a German artist from the 9th century original rebuilt during the period 1120 -1138. I can see the inspiration he took from Celtic design, something he maybe might not have been aware of.... .
...and maybe there is still something of the celt culture in todays' work of hand-engraving professional...
The Triskele (from the Greek "three legs") is another common Celtic pattern.It's a interconnected triple spiral.
The Significance of the Number Three
The Celts ascribed great significance to the number three. To them, everything of importance occurred in threes – birth/life/death; birth/death/rebirth; the visible phases of the moon (new, half and full); land, sea and sky; the realms of otherworld, mortal world and celestial world. It has also been suggested that the whirling vortices of the triskele represent forward motion – cycles of development, progress or growth – which may in turn be physical, emotional and spiritual
Triskele images (wiki common website)
|Celtic decorations in the Book of Kells (IX century)|
But what are the elements of Celtic art? Read on here.
My celtic stencils will be much less sophisticated, starting with "simple" celtic knot decorations and the triskele...
Beautiful handmade vector files from the book of Kells and the Lindisfarne Gospel. Plus lots of other handmade clip arts! A great website.