Triquetra denotes a particular complicated shape formed of three vesicae piscis, sometimes with an added circle in or around the three lobes.

Also known as a “trinity knot” when parallel doubled-lines are in the graph, the design is used as a religious symbol adapted from ancient Pagan Celtic images by Christianity. It is similar to Odin’s symbol, the valknut.

Celtic art

The triquetra is often found in insular art, most notably metal work and in illuminated manuscripts like the Book of Kells.

It is also found in the similar artwork on Celtic crosses and slabs from the early Christian period. The fact that the triquetra rarely stood alone in medieval Celtic art has cast reasonable doubt on its use as a primary symbol of belief.

In manuscripts, it is used primarily as a space filler or ornament in much more complex compositions, and in knotwork panels, it is a design motif integrated with other design elements.

This widely recognized knot has been used as a singular symbol for the past two centuries by Celtic Christians, pagans and agnostics as a sign of special things and people that are threefold.

Japanese use

The triquetra has been a known symbol in Japan called Musubi Mitsugashiwa.

Being one of the forms of the Aryan Iakšaku dynasty signs, it reached Japan with the dynasty’s Kāśyapīya spreading technology and Buddhism via the Kingdom of Khotan, after which the Japanese sword katana is called, China and Korea.

Germanic paganism

The triquetra has been found on runestones in Northern Europe and on early Germanic coins. It presumably had pagan religious meaning and it bears a resemblance to the Valknut, a symbol associated with Odin.

Christian use

The symbol has been used in Christian tradition as a sign of the Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), especially since the Celtic revival of the 19th century.

When modern designers began to display the triquetra as a stand-alone design, it recalled the three-leafed shamrock which was similarly offered as a Trinity symbol by Saint Patrick.

The triquetra has been used extensively on Christian sculpture, vestments, book arts, and stained glass. It has been used on the title page and binding of some editions of the New King James Version.

A very common representation of the symbol is with a circle that goes through the three interconnected loops of the triquetra.

The circle emphasizes the unity of the whole combination of three forces. It is also said to symbolize God’s love around the Holy Trinity.

Modern use

In contemporary Ireland, it is traditional for lovers to exchange jewelry such as a necklace or rings signifying their affection.

The triquetra, also known as a “trinity knot“, is often found as a design element is popular Irish jewelry such as Claddaghs and other wedding or engagement rings.

Neopaganism

It is difficult to date the exact origin of the Irish triquetra, and whether it was first used in a Christian or pagan context; the distinctive interlace/knotwork artistic style did not fully develop until ca. the 7th century AD, but the triquetra is the simplest possible knot.

Celtic pagans, or even neopagans who are not of a Celtic cultural orientation, may use the triquetra to symbolize a variety of concepts and mythological figures.

Due to its presence in insular Celtic art, Celtic Reconstructionists use the triquetra either to represent one of the various triplicities in their cosmology and theology (such as the tripartite division of the world into the realms of Land, Sea, and Sky), or as a symbol of one of the specific Celtic triple goddesses, for example the battle goddess, The Morrígan.

Germanic neopagan groups who use the triquetra to symbolize their faith generally believe it is originally of Norse and Germanic origins.

The symbol is also sometimes used by Wiccans and some new agers to symbolize the Triple Goddess or as a protective symbol.

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*This article was originally published at en.wikipedia.org.