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v1.11 preface
v1.11 cover
v1.11 contents
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The Celtic Art Coracle volume 1 issue 11 
Language of Ornament, continued
In the same way, when our remote ancestors cremated the dead, the ashes were deposited into the earth in sacramental pots of baked clay.

These pots inscribed with patterns performed a sacred function. The pot became a vessel for the soul, as the body once was.

The clay was inscribed with ornament, which the spirit could inhabit, since pattern belongs to the metaphysical world. As pottery lasts a long time, the spirits remain close, perhaps waiting to be reborn, and might be honored meantime as allies in the Otherworld.

The continuance of relationship between the living and the dead was a universal preoccupation among ancient people. This explains  the function of primitive ornament on funerary urns. But what is the necessity of pattern in every-day life; we seem to have forgotten the function of ornament. People in tribal cultures seem better able to satisfy the innate need to decorate themselves and their surroundings.

Look at nature, which used to be described as "the Great Adornment". There we  can see that the language of decorative forms is universal to animals, birds, fishes, insects, plants, minerals of all sorts. Al ofl these create patterns according to an imperative we have peculiarly neglected. That language of ornament is the oldest form of language; yet we seem to have lost the use of this primal tongue that unites all nature.

 

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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