The more complex form of split-ribbon is applied to the
same knot used for the neck of a single bird on upper, right-hand side on page one.
A single bird's neck and head uses one strand of of
the Josephine knot, leaving a second strand loose, which is a mistake.
All strands of knotwork in an animal pattern must relate to
some part of the animal's anatomy, usually the neck, tail, or topknot and sometimes a
At the lower left on folio1R, there is another,
split-ribboned knot, based on a variation of the Josephine knot.
In this variation, one of the two breaklines is omitted,
which changes the two circuits of the Josephine knot into a continuous single circuit.
This rectifies the mistake on the opposite corner. Instead
of joining two Foundational knots, join one Foundational and one Solomon 's knot together
- that is, a Josephine knot with only one breakline - for a single strand.
I think the reason for this "mistake" is that the
scribe wanted to show the technique of knotwork design in the first few pages of the Book
of Kells, deliberately leaving these clues for us.