>>This knot could have passed for an example of Celtic knotwork. It was
>>identical to designs I have seen in various books.
>Examples can be seen in Chinese works...
Knotwork patterns are really common across Europe, Asia and Africa. I am
sure I've seen simple ones in native Meso- & South American art too. When
you consider the usefulness of tying knots and of wattle fencing in cultures
with no access to Superglue, Velcro or Rivet Guns it's not really surprising
that these are used as artistic motifs also along with images representing
other things important to everyday life and spiritual life. I have read that
some Celtic peoples at least wore their hair tied in complex knots (no
source to hand), and have seen examples of highly complex knots used in
Chinese purse strings. In these two cultures at least the knot had some
artistic value outside the fields of manuscript decoration, metalwork etc.
>The other similarity that exists between cultural art (especially Buddhist
>and Celtic) was the abstract forms and patterns that appeared. This was
>quite deliberate esp. in Celtic, for no human figures appeared...
For example the Gundesrup cauldron?? Point taken, though - early Celtic
coinage used highly abstract patterns to represent faces, horse-&-rider
images etc. The art of Islam is another example of this (complete with
interlaced patterns of high complexity).
It's worth bearing in mind the importance of complexity in simplicity and of
simplicity in the complex within Buddhist philosophy and Celtic art. We
don't have tons of Celtic philosophical treatises, but one look at the Book
of Kells should be enough to make my point. Another parallel between the two
is a belief in reincarnation. Mind you, this idea is evident across the
globe and through the ages, so it's not really a big deal.
Basically, these are just two examples of similar approaches to viewing the
world & spirituality. There are very few unique or highly uncommon core
elements within art or spirituality or social structure anywhere. The
movement of ideas and images with traders and migrants has a lot to do with
this IMHO, but surely this really would mostly act as a reinforcing agent to
concepts arising from world views developed independently as a result of
common experiences at given stages of social development. For eg. developing
agriculture or industry leads to the raising in social standing of certain
craftspeople or types of farmer, and the adoption of related ideas or images
into the image set of the people - perhaps the power of iron over the Tuatha
de Dannan is related to the fact that the Celts were leaders in its use in
Stiofa/n mac Amhalgaidh,
"Little pig, little pig, can I come in?", said the Anglo-American cultural
"Not by the hair of my chinny-chin-chin!!", said the small but growing body
of Celtic psycho-freedom fighters . . .