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Showing posts from 2024

Crux Gemmata

Why did the Celts decorate their crosses? Let's take a little trip through the ages to find the inspiration that sparked the Celtic imagination: To begin with, the pre-Christian Celts already had a tradition of decorative stone carving. The Picts chisled spirals, key patterns, and other designs into boulders that possibly served as boundary and land markers.  In the 8th century, more and more slabs featured large cross shapes filled with spirals, keys, and intricate interlaced knotwork. This coincided with Irish Gaels and Anglo-Saxons pushing into Pictish lands, bringing Christianity along with them. Aberlemno Cross Slab ( Anne Burgess / Aberlemno Cross ) The Irish high crosses, as I explained in my last post , often displayed saints, biblical figures, and Christ surrounded by a ring which could represent the victory wreath, eternal life, or the cosmos. These concepts and imagery travelled along with clerics, missionaries, and pilgrims from Rome, Jerusalem, and perhaps even Egypt.