Celtic knotwork embodies a richness and pureness of ancient Celtic times. It dates back as far as the 5th century and was used extensively by the ancient monks to illuminate the world famous Book of Kells and Book of Durrow manuscripts. There is much speculation and scholarly guesses associated with the meaning of Celtic knots. The Celts didn't keep records of the meanings of the designs they created but they were prevalent in so many areas of their life. Because of the context of the designs that scholars have studied it has been speculated that the knots represented basic tenants of life, mankind, and spirituality. Some could have been created to ward off evil spirits, others are said to relate to the concept of eternity, eternal life, or the interconnectedness of all living things. Over time, archaeologists have determined that the outer shape of a knot is key to the overall meaning and have recorded a key of sorts to aid in determining the context of Celtic designs.
The Celtic knot is one of the best known motifs in Celtic jewelery and art. The delicate twists and turns are found in ancient stone art and tattoos, in illuminated manuscripts- in fact, just about anywhere the Celtic people have traveled. Similar designs exist in Norse culture, and as far as China.
The continual looping of the designs suggests themes of eternity and interconnectedness, and knots may have been made at one time to foil evil spirits. Interwoven figures of people and animals may have represented the interdependent nature of life-two or more knots laced together symbolize lovers, hunters and their prey, God and man, etc. from spirits or malevolent influence. Interlaced animals and men usually represent relationships, or emphasize the interdependence of mankind and nature.