In the Book of Kells are some simple examples of knotwork,
such as the basic plait, Solomon's Knot on the first page, folio 1 r.
Actually, there were originally some pages before this one, now lost. But let's refer
to fol1R and fol1V as page one and page two, anyway.
You can find an illustration of this page reproduced in the
Françoise Henry edition of the Book of Kells, plate 1. Two birds fill the top,
right-hand corner. The neck of each bird is the basic knot which I call the Foundational
In the bottom left corner of the same page, the
foundational knots are shown in reverse. These opposite corners show us the same knot used
for a birds neck, a pair of birds in each corner.
As there are only four possible arrangements of the break
pattern in the basic knot, the scribe used all four positions on the corners of the
On the same page, just below the top right corner, two
bird's tails are tied in a Solomon's Knot, pointing out the relationship between Solomon's
Knot and the Foundational knot forming the bird's neck.
It seems to me that the scribe is pointing out this
relationship on purpose, writing down the system of knot design here.
In other words, the basics of knotwork design may be found
on the first two pages of the Book of Kells.