About this PieceLarge standing Celtic cross sculpture – a beautiful reminder of that golden age showing the skills of these ancient craftsmen, now recreated in 5000 year old Irish turf!
Height 11 inches
History of the Celtic Cross
The Celtic Cross first appeared in Ireland and Britain during the early middle ages, when missionaries were busy planting the roots of Christianity among Celtic populations. The style represents a unity of Christian and Celtic motifs - after all, early missionaries are largely responsible for recording and thus preserving many Celtic customs and artwork. This hybrid art form is known as insular art (from 'insula', the Latin for 'island').
The cross typically features a nimbus - a ring around the intersection - which also provides support. Its true origin is unknown, though some historians have suggested it may have originally represented the Roman sun god Invictus.
The most famous surviving versions of these crosses are found in the monumental stone 'high crosses' erected from the 9th-12th centuries, which also depicted stylized Biblical scenes. Though insular art would later be overtaken by Romanesque art, it earned a comeback with the 'Celtic Revival' of the 19th Century, during a time when Ireland was rediscovering its heritage.
About the Maker
Island Turf Crafts creates stunning ornaments and jewelry carved from excavated Irish turf (also known as peat), a natural resource found mainly in the West of Ireland. Up until the last few decades, turf was commonly dug out of peat bogs and used as fuel, though if you're lucky you may still catch a smell of it burning in the hearths of traditional Irish pubs, providing a cozy buffer against the cold elements outside.
In rural areas of Ireland the past, each summer entire families and communities (even the children and elderly) would gather at the bogs with their spades to collectively dig up the turf, a laborious but crucial task which provided fuel for the gruelling winters. Though turf is no longer a primary source of fuel in Ireland today, many recall fondly the warmth and comfort it provided when burned in a fireplace, as well as the distinctive smell which never fails to trigger fond memories of roaring fires in traditional Irish cottages and pubs.