Early Celtic art is the popular name given to the decorative styles of Europe, from Ireland to Romania, from 500 BC to AD 100. It is more correctly called La Tene art, after the place in Switzerland where many objects with this style of decoration were found in the nineteenth century. Inspired by formal motifs imported from Greece and Italy, European metalworkers rapidly evolved their own abstract flowing patterns.
Knotwork Interlace - 'the interconnection of life and humankind's place within the universe. Common knots include the Trinity knot, thought to represent the Holy Trinity or the Triple Gods/Goddesses of the ancient Celts; and the Lover's Knot, representing 2 together as one (resembles intertwined infinity symbols).'
Spirals - it reflects personal spirit, and an individual's achievement of balance in the inner consciousness and outer self. Can also represent the cosmos, heavens, and water. A common spiral type pattern would be the Triskel, thought to represent the Holy Trinity or the Triple Gods/Goddesses of the ancient Celts like the Trinity Knot (above to the right).
Maze and Step Patterns - an individual's journey through life, their path of experiences and learning.
Zoomorphics (animals) -
Lions - nobility, strength
Snakes - rebirth (Dragon or serpent designs may be interpreted the same as snakes)
Birds - purity (peacocks) or nobility (eagles)
Salmon - knowledge
Bull - strength
Boar - ferocity, strength
The Celts were a proud and boastful people, these attributes were important for their story telling. Story telling has been a feature of celtic culture that has survived and has had a significant impact on the modern world. Each tribe would have a bard (musical narrator) who would tell stories of love and the heroic actions of their warriors and Chiefs, as in Athurian legends.
They had a form of writing but due to being a more spoken race as well as there being a massive loss in their history due to loss in great wars, there is not much literature left. The only Writing by the Celts in this ancient time is 'The book of Kells' written by Celtic monks.
Music in the ancient Celtic culture was a centre part for their dance culture. Ancient Celtic pottery reveals pictures of Celts dancing. The dancers used hand clappers as an accompanying instrument, creating a dance similar to modern day castanet performances.
There are a number of ancient Celtic musical instruments that they made such as the Celtic horn, Celtic trumpet, the Carnyx, bone flutes ( made from bird bones), crotales just to name a few.
Motion pictures such as the Lord of The Rings series, and The Warrior Queen (Boudicca).
Relative to the Celts, is the TV series of 'Vikings'.
Early Celtic art features stylized faces and entwined plant ornament; even precise patterns such as those on the bronze Battersea shield reveal owl-like faces.