The motifs on the Irish High Cross
The motifs on the Irish high cross are shown below. They show the variety of Irish decorative elements that are excellently displayed to their best at this cross in Dietkirchen.
They are mainly patterns of multiple intertwined ribbons and/or flower-like knots, as well as spirals. Some of these knots seem to be modeled after the Celtic symbol of the triquetta. This symbol is also called triqueta or triquetra. It consists of three circular arcs connected together. The triquetta is the knot of trinity and represents the mystical number three. For the Celts, the triquetta was considered a symbol of birth, life, death, for the elements earth, air, water but also a symbol of femininity.
The motifs above the base on the north and south sides of the cross are strongly reminiscent of the Irish symbol of the tree of life, which in Celtic mythology symbolizes the connection between heaven and earth, the roots strongly anchored in the soil and the branches stretched towards heaven.
Even today in Ireland, the Tree of Life represents hope for a healthy, happy life and for thriving, courage and strength.
Front, 1st motif below the Christ figure (west side)
Front, 2nd motif below the Christ figure (west side)
Front, 3rd motif below the Christ figure (west side), Snakes, the symbol of St. Patrick
1. motif above the base (south side)
2. motif above the base (south side)
1. motif above the base (north side)
2. motif above the base (north side)
Right upper cross angle (view from the west side)
(all pictures ©Ludwig Ries)