Thursday, August 23, 2012

Celtic triquetra as a string

Tangles: Betweed, Black Pearlz, elements of Tripoli,
and Auras resembling Auraknot or Hibred

TRIQUETRA comes from the Latin for "three-cornered" and originally referred to a variety of three-cornered shapes. Nowadays, it refers exclusively to a more intricate shape that is often found in Celtic artwork. It is formed from three vesicae piscis, interlaced. It's not unusual to see it with an added circle.

While Christians often use it as a symbol of the trinity, the triquetra has been used - long before Christianity - as a symbol of things that are threefold: infancy/adulthood/old age, mother/father/child, earth/sea/sky, the virgin/mother/crone of the Celtic goddess, etc.. It has been found on old Germanic coins and on northern European runestones. Here is a slightly different triquetra design on one of the Funbo runestones.

I've been learning a bit about how to draw Celtic knots recently. The triquetra is the simplest knot and makes a simple, interesting string to begin a Zentangle. I was quite pleased with the results. The biggest challenge for me was to place an equilateral triangle in a square! At the top of this post is the first one I did. I was intending to use Sue Clark's tri-shape string, thus the square in the background, but the circle didn't make it! I found the triquetra a bit small in that one, and in my next effort I filled the entire tile with it.
Tangles: Chebucto, Keenees, Mi2, Tipple
The trefoil is a related image; simply round the three outer points of the triquetra. You can see a tile I did with a trefoil, and a two-pencil string, at the end of this post. I will attempt other, more intricate knots. Stay tuned!


  1. Beautiful. I love how the shading makes the triquetra look like it's floating over the background.

  2. I agree, I love celtic work. I have books of coourtney davis and 1 plate.
    Never thinking using this as a string!
    Ver inspiring! Get my books and going to use it in a zendala!
    ANd so lucky you have the translator on your website!!!!!!!I learn a lot english but somethimes it takes to much energie to translate. Thank you!

  3. beautiful work! i like the addition of the runstone - that gives more meaning to me, more understanding of the background. i love the patterns you used in your last tile!

  4. Gosh thanks Margaret, I found that very interesting, I must give a celtic knot a try. Looking forward to see what you come up with next!

  5. Love all these Triquetra Celtic knots. The Celtic knot can be a little overpowering but this is a wonderful simplified shape. Beautiful!

  6. How did I miss this, Darling Margaret?! I love, love, LOVE both of these. How I wish we lived nearer one another so you could teach me how to do this. How in the world did you get the three triangular shapes so uniform in size and shape and equidistant? Swoon.

    1. Thanks Ann! Triquetras are fun to do, and not that difficult. I did a little tutorial about drawing triquetras in this post: