Celtic Knot History


A great way to practice drawing Celtic knots is to doodle them on some scrap paper in your spare time.  The more you practice, the better you will become in drawing really great and effective Celtic knot designs.  You will become more familiar with the interlace patterns and mosaics and the rule of ‘over’ and ‘under’ weaving that characterises a typical Celtic knot.  In your spare time, study different patterns to familiarise yourself with the Celtic knot shapes.  You may wonder where Celtic knots initially came from?

A Brief History of Celtic Knots

Celtic knots are steeped in history and mythology.  Many of the Celtic knot designs came initially from the book of Kells, which was a beautiful and richly illustrated manuscript containing the 4 Gospels of the New Testament.  The book dates to about 700 to 800 Century and was written by Monks in Latin.  The Book of Kells contains colourfully illustrated calligraphy scripts, drawings and Celtic knots and is regarded as a valuable national treasure. 

Where Did Celtic Knots Come From?

The very early Celtic patterns first emerged in the European continent regions approximately 2000 years ago and then moved to the British Isles.  The typical Celtic knot motif did not appear until around 7 Century AD and it soon became associated with mythology and folklore.   It is believed that Celtic knots originated from Paganism and then influenced Christian art.  Many years ago, Celtic knots had superstition and meaning to families and symbolised many things.

What Are The Rules To Drawing Celtic Knots?

Here are a few basic and simple rules to drawing great looking Celtic knots and patterns:

There is perfect symmetry, precision and geometry associated with Celtic designs and this beautiful art form is pleasing to the eye.

A strict rule is that the paths or ribbon should cross over and under itself throughout.  If you look closely at the most intricate ancient Celtic patterns, you should see that Celtic artisans applied and stuck to this simple rule. 

The Celtic knots should not end, but go on endlessly, hence there is no beginnings or endings, the knots interlace round itself constantly and forever.

No more than two paths or ribbons should cross at one time.

The creation of Celtic knots is also governed by keeping a consistent path or ribbon width throughout.  However, some of these rules have been broken in modern day Celtic designs that we see today.

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