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Question and Answers from the Keltic Knots Course
The Celtic Art Coracle Volume 1 Issue 10

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 Knot.

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 page. 

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.

Art: copyright © Aidan Meehan 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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