Celtic knots and crosses have long been popular in body art. Most of them incorporate very intricate patterns woven together in designs that symbolize various Irish decorative and sacred objects, architecture, or manuscripts, often derived from the Book of Kells.
For people of Irish, Scottish, or Welsh descent, Celtic tattoos are particularly appealing. There is a relation to nature in all the designs, no matter how stylistic or intricate. The Norse influence, which came about through trade between countries, is apparent in the simple curves and basic shapes.
Photo by jmd41280 on Flickr
Circles and crosses are the two dominant design themes in Celtic art. The traditional Celtic cross, with its circle surrounding the crossed bars, is attributed to St. Patrick and an interaction with Druids where he attempted to Christianize their ritualistic symbols. Celtic knots use that same form of the never-ending circle arranged in very complex patterns and shapes.
Photo by Photos o’ Randomness on Flickr
There are many different ways to make a Celtic tattoo unique, but all are characterized by flowing lines. Most often inked in black and white, a creative tattoo artist can add splashes of color within the design, or do something a bit more modern by adding other elements, such as shamrocks or a dynamic, brilliantly-hued background. Consider asking your tattoo artist to experiment with drawings that combine the ancient simplicity of form with more contemporary components.
Photo by Jessie Johnson
Celtic tattoo designs are most commonly seen on the arms but that doesn’t mean you couldn’t place one elsewhere on your body. If they get too small you lose the visual interest of the fine details so they are probably not the best choice for areas like the ankles or wrists.
Tattoos incorporating Celtic designs are ageless in their beauty and appeal.