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The Celtic Art Coracle Volume 1 Issue 3 
ZOOMORPHIC ART The Development of Intertwining Zoomorphic Art from Mesopotamia to the Golden Age of Irish Art - Gabriole Sinclair (continued) 

The zoomorphic juncture seems to have been a late addition to the compact, sharply edged, richly antlered, animal style of the earliest Scythian barrows of South Russia, and it can be assumed that they later derived it from the nomads of Luristan. Such compositions are analogous to eastern European myths, where the Hero is transformed into a succession of different animals.

Finally, Scythian art shows traces of Greek realism. In Siberia, however, the art developed into structures rendered in geometric schemes: animals twisted into the shape of a circle with legs forming open-work interlace or contorted into a horizontal S-scroll. The designs then passed into linear stylization, but throughout this process of development, the form of the animal never was obscured; the nomad artist rejected the more indistinct and monstrous forms of zoomorphic design.

These trends directly relate to the art of proto-historic Europe. The influence becomes notable during the transition from the Bronze to Iron Age.  Scythian style generally, and more particularly the art of the Steppes influenced the Celtic art of the early La Tène period. Celtic art synthesized these contributions. In the Germanic art of the Dark Ages, the animal style was retained, and transmitted via Saxon art to Britain. The purse cover from Sutton Hoo, from A.D. 665, demonstrates this fact.

Bands of zoomorphic interlacement seem to been a Celtic invention of this period. The style flourished in the skilled hands of the Christian artists of Ireland. 

continued

Copyright © Gabriole Sinclair 1983
 

The Celtic Art Coracle Vol 1
Contents © Coracle Press 1983
ISSN 0828-8321 
All Rights Reserved
10.02.01edition
coracle@thecoracle.tripod.com

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