Book of Kells

The Book of Kells is a manuscript that dates back to medieval times. It features 680 pages of vellum, artistically decorated in elegant detail. It is considered an illuminated manuscript due to the vast amount of artist adornments featured on almost every page. A great deal of jewelry that features the Celtic knot is inspired directly by this book, and inspired jewelry bearing symbols such as the cross and the trinity connects the wearer to a long-standing tradition and spiritual heritage.

Book of Kells: A Brief Overview

The Book of Kells itself is an Irish manuscript that contains the four gospels, along with the Eusebian canons, also known as The Book of Columba, The manuscript is believed to be a relic from the late 500 A.D. and is said to have been written by Columba, a monk who lived in the monastery at Iona during that time. The manuscript contains every variety of design typical of Irish art at its finest: geometrical weaving that bear images, designs so intricate they can only be viewed with a magnifying glass, crosses, spirals, animals such as birds, horses, dogs and even men are woven into interesting and recognizable form using knot work. This is staggering since magnifying glass technology did not exist at the time this manuscript was created. There is not a single repeated design in the book.

Types of Celtic Knots

These distinctive knots are formed from single lines that are made of pure loops from beginning to end. These are called pure knots. Some of the most well-known designs include: The shield, which features a stylized cross with a circle in the middle; eternity knots, which have entirely closed paths and are said to symbolize eternity, heritage and the trinity; and lover’s knots which link separate paths to form a unified whole.

Meanings of Different Knots

Various Celtic knots represent spiritual and philosophical concepts such as the interconnectedness of life and eternity, the trinity, spiritual crossing of paths, and the endurance of life, faith and love. The Book of Kells has inspired Irish artistic traditions for centuries, and artists today continue to find inspiration in its pages. Because of the quantity and quality of the art featured in this Irish treasure, people have often believed the book itself was written by angels.