One of the most remarkable characteristics of an ancient people would be in the artwork that they leave behind. The Celtic people lived in a timeless land that is now called Ireland, and they left behind a wondrous amount of art for modern-day art lovers to enjoy.
Celtic art has an illustrious history and has had various influences based on outside events and the time period. Here is some more information on the unique contributions that the Celts made to the artistic world:
The Celtic contribution to the artistic world dates back to 1000 B.C.
The first important thing to understand about the art of the Celts is that it dates back to the European Iron Age and arose along with the mass migrations of the people group from the steppes of Southern Russia. The first Celts most definitely brought their unique styles and they had a broad knowledge of iron-making, jewelry art and metal work.
The first distinct style of Celtic artwork was the Hallstatt Culture, which was developed around 800 to 475 B.C. and was characterized by a geometric style with influences based on Mycenaean art and polychrome, unpainted pottery.
The next style of Celtic art was entitled “La Tene”
The next style in the Celtic artistic condition would be the La Tene style, so named because of the nearby village of La Tene by Lake Nechatel in modern-day Switzerland. Many weapons such as spears, swords, spear-heads and shields were made. Brooches, tools and other artifacts have also been found from this time period as well.
La Tene artifacts are particularly noted for their goldsmithery and their curvilinear art mostly devoted to vegetable and foilage motifs.
The Celtic artistic culture underwent a renaissance after the arrival of Christianity.
Finally, the Celtic contribution to art actually underwent a renaissance after the arrival of Christianity. For the most part, the art was devoted to expressions of the Christian faith. This would include the wonderful illuminated gospel manuscripts and the creation of some remarkable free standing sculptures. The great High Crosses of Ireland are one example of this.
Truly words cannot begin to describe how amazing some of the art from the Celtic period is. This is a fascinating time period and is definitely worthy of more study, analysis and reflection.
Bonfires, storytelling, dance and music festivals are just some of the ancient Celtic events. The local people in Ireland placed great significance on these. People come together singing, dancing, playing sports or the theater.
There are several specific and often ancient types of Celtic festivals. A feis (plural feiseannan) is a traditional Gaelic arts and culture festival, currently used referring to Irish dance competitions. In Ancient Ireland communities placed great importance on local festivals, where Gaels could come together in song, dance, music, theatre and sport. Today the Feis has experienced something of a rebirth, both for ethnic Gaels and for enthusiasts of the Gaelic culture in Ireland and Scotland, and worldwide. Other ancient festivals include the eisteddfod, which is a Welsh festival of literature, music and performance dating back to at least the 12th century. The present-day format owes much to an eighteenth-century revival arising out of a number of informal eisteddfodau. Comparable to the eisteddfod but without the ancient roots, the mod is a festival of Scottish Gaelic song, arts and culture. There are both local mods and an annual national mod, the Royal National Mod, which take the form of formal competitions, with choral events and traditional music including fiddle, bagpipe and folk groups. There are spoken word events, original dramas, and competitions in written literature.
The concept of modern Celtic identity evolved during the course of the 19th-century into the Celtic Revival and the growth of Celtic nations. After World War II, the focus of the Celticity movement shifted to linguistic revival and protectionism, e.g. protecting Celtic languages. The Celtic revival also led to the emergence of musical and artistic styles identified as Celtic. Music typically drew on folk traditions within the Celtic nations, and instruments such as Celtic harp. Art drew on decorative styles associated with the ancient Celts and with early medieval Celtic Christianity, along with folk-styles. Cultural events to promote “inter-Celtic” cultural exchange also emerged, including festivals.
What is a Celtic Tree Calendar? In contrast to the Gregorian calendar that follows a solar cycle, a Celtic Tree Calendar is a lunar calendar with 364 days, about 13 months with 28 days each month. The name of each month in the Celtic calendar is based on the tree representing the cycle of the moon.
The Celtic Tree Calendar is a lunar calendar of 364 days and has 13 months of 28 days each. It is contrary to the Gregorian calendar in which the year has 365 days and that follows the solar cycle. December 23 is the traditional day of the proverbial “Year and a Day” according to the earliest courts of law. In the Celtic calendar, each month is named after a tree that signifies particular qualities of the moon during that cycle.
There is a very interesting theory behind this calendar which gives us a glimpse of the Celtic culture. This calendar has its origin based in historical poetry. The druids believed that trees are the ancestors of the human race. The calculation of lunar cycle itself is variable in nature and hence, the Gregorian followers stick to the fixed dates of a calendar which starts from one and follows the sequential manner till 30 or 31, with only February being an exception.
When you hear the word ‘Celtic Art’ what usually comes to your mind first? Many people think of Irish and Pictish art. However, these artworks had almost nothing to do with Celtic art.
Nowadays, it is relatively easy to find a wide variety of very affordable books offering to teach the reader the methods of construction of something called ‘Celtic art’. It is also an extremely easy exercise to find an extensive selection of beautiful ‘Celtic’ clip-art on the web. This art is not, however, as its name might imply, a universal and timeless tradition, the heritage of all Celts at all time periods. To such ancient Celts as Vercingetorix or Boudica, such art would appear as strange as Cairo’s Al-Azhar university would to Ramesses the Great. To understand why this is the case, it is necessary to look at the sharp divide between ancient and medieval Celtic art styles.
In the 7th century, metalwork evolved in Ireland. They used bronze reliquary which is a hinged box that contained the relics of Saints. As time pass, the boxes became bigger and were used for decoration. Later on, these pieces were adorned with precious metals.
Broadly speaking, the earliest Celtic arts and crafts appeared in Iron Age Europe with the first migrations of Celts coming from the steppes of Southern Russia, from about 1000 BCE onwards. Any European art, craftwork or architecture before this date derives from earlier Bronze Age societies of the Urnfield culture (1200-750 BCE), or the Tumulus (1600-1200 BCE), Unetice (2300-1600 BCE) or Beaker (2800–1900 BCE) cultures.
The first Celts brought their own cultural styles, derived from the Caucasian Bronze Age, as well as a knowledge of Mediterranean and Etruscan styles, derived from maritime trading contacts through the Bosporus between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean basin. Settling in the area of the Upper Danube, the Celts duly absorbed motifs of the ancient Danubian tradition.
The Celts are known for being traders. They were in in constant dealings with merchants from the Mediterranean. Weapons, tools for pottery, wine and iron are common items they traded.
The Celts were a fascinating people and since this website is dedicated to improving your knowledge of Irish mythology and all things Celtic, we have decided to provide you with 10 interesting facts about this ancient civilisation. Most people associate the Celts with Ireland and Scotland but the civilisation originated in Central Europe. The earliest Celtic settlement was discovered in Hallstatt, Austria in 1200 BC. The heartland of the Celts is actually in Germany, Switzerland and Austria.
It was previously believed that the Celtic language was more or less phased out after the Roman conquest. In actual fact, Celtic languages were widely spoken afterwards according to the writings of St Jerome in the 4th and 5th Century AD. However, these languages did start to disappear during the Middle Ages and today, very few people speak Celtic languages and their usage is mainly confined to the west of Ireland, Brittany and Wales.
Tattoos and jewelry feature Celtic love knots. The designs usually stand out due to the continuous and intertwined patterns. But did you know that aside from the appearance, each design has a significant meaning?
Celtic knot work originated in the third or fourth century in the artwork of the Roman empire. After 450 A.D. the Celtic form of art was used by early Christians to decorate their manuscripts adding depictions from life such as animals and plants. However, it is believed that Celts were forbidden from using animals, plants, or human forms in their artwork and therefore, the complicated and intricate Irish Celtic symbols consisting only of geometric designs were created. Celtic knot work has also been compared to plaits or braids which are designs made from interwoven cords.
The actual meaning of Celtic symbol knot is debatable. The reason for this is that today most people have adapted these knots to represent their version of Celtic style love knot. These knots that are popularly known as the eternity knot represents the union of two souls by interweaving two individual strands. They are commonly used in Celtic wedding rings which portray two unbroken loops that intertwine and are inseparable from each other. They also symbolize the never-ending cycle of life with their intricate and interwoven patterns that have no end or beginning. The crossings in a love knot often depict the spiritual meaning of life. Despite the traditional belief that animals should not be used in any Celtic knot, many times Celtic style love knots have animals interlacing the knots. The following are the different types of Celtic style love knots and their meanings.
In ancient Celt belief, Celtic symbols and signs possessed strong power that affects the daily life of a person. The understanding of the symbol meanings were derived from historians of the Celtic culture. Tap the mystery of the Celts by understanding the meanings hidden in these symbols.
Celtic symbol meanings are tough to track because there are minimal known surviving written records of indicating specific Celtic symbol meanings.
Quite a bit of understanding about Celtic use of symbols comes from conjecture and supposition from authorities and historians of ancient Celtic culture.
This is not a bad thing because this allows us to tap into the mystery of the Celtic way, follow our hearts, and open up to our intuition when it comes to Celtic symbolism.
Celtic knots make great decorative borders. Want to learn how to make one? The technique is to master the structure of the plait with strands and interlock in a specific way.
When you learn how to draw Celtic knots, you’re actually learning how to plait on paper. All Celtic knotwork or interlace is based on the structure of a plait with (usually) two, three, four, five or six strands. By interrupting this plait in certain ways, linked knots are created.
The one thing all plaits and weaves have in common is crossed cords (or crossed strands, cables, strings, lines, strips etc). Cords cross each other, over and under, to make all plaits and interlaced patterns.
So here’s the first secret – the real starting point for how to draw Celtic knots is not a plait but a simpler unit – the building block of all Celtic knots: two crossed cords in a square.
In Celtic astrology, every zodiac sign is assigned with a tree or animal. The nature of individual with a specific zodiac sign is matched with the natural energy of the tree.
When the Celts developed their zodiac signs, an interesting theory went behind the whole process. They developed these symbols based on the lunar (moon) calendar, which has 13 months. They associated each month with a tree, because they believed that each tree had a unique energy of its own that corresponded to the month. This led to the birth of the Celtic zodiac tree signs. They also linked animals with these tree symbols, meaning that ever lunar month had a tree sign and an animal sign.
These 13 Druid zodiac signs signified the conscious and unconscious mind. Since the moon represented the latter, the trees came to be associated with the same. Likewise, the animal signs were linked to the conscious mind, and each sign signified a linking between the two minds. Each tree sign was assigned a Celtic letter known as an Ogham, which described the energy of that particular tree. We are sure your interest in this form of astrology has peaked by now. So, find your birth date from the following paragraphs, and see what your Celtic zodiac sign says about you. However, remember that this is a generalized description. It may match your personality completely or not match it at all. Every person is unique, so no zodiac reading will ever be accurate.
The six Celtic nations recognized by their language are the following: Ireland, Scotland, Isle of Man, Wales, Cornwall and Brittany. Celtic language is still alive in Ireland, Wales and Brittany but in the Isle of Man and Cornwall the language died out eventually.
The six territories recognised as Celtic nations are Brittany (Breizh), Cornwall (Kernow), Wales (Cymru), Scotland (Alba), Ireland (Éire), and the Isle of Man (Mannin). Each has a Celtic language that is either still spoken or was spoken into modern times. Territories in north-western Iberia—particularly Galicia, Northern Portugal and Asturias; sometimes referred to as Gallaecia, which includes North-Central Portugal—are sometimes included due to their culture and history. Unlike the others, however, no Celtic language has been spoken there in modern times. Before the expansions of Ancient Rome and the Germanic tribes, a significant part of Europe was dominated by Celtic culture.
Ireland, Wales, Brittany and Scotland contain areas where a Celtic language is used on a daily basis – in Ireland the area is called the Gaeltacht on the west coast; Y Fro Gymraeg in Wales, and in Brittany Breizh-Izel. Generally these communities are in the west of their countries and in more isolated upland or island areas. The term Gàidhealtachd historically distinguished the Gaelic-speaking areas of Scotland (the Highlands) from the Lowland Scots (i.e. Anglo-Saxon-speaking) areas. More recently, this term has also been adopted as the Gaelic name of the Highland council area, which includes non-Gaelic speaking areas. Hence, more specific terms such as sgìre Ghàidhlig (“Gaelic-speaking area”) are now used.