Stone Crosses

Throughout the Celtic lands of Britain and Ireland, large stone erosses bear witness to the conversion of the later Celts to Christianity. These are among the most commonly encountered and powerful images created by Celtic artists, and although they were often decorated using similar techniques found on mctalwork or manuscript illumination, the stonemasons developed their own unique style.

On different regions of the British Isles,

_different styles of stone carvings predominated. In Wales and Cornwall, stone crosses were simple affairs, lacking the classical Celtic patterns of interweaving threads and floral embellishments. By contrast in Ireland, crosses of the Celtic renaissance period emphasized decoration, and references to the natural world. In Picdand and Dal Riada, decorative features were an integral part of the stone cross, and there, crosses developed into distinctive shapes where the decoration was allowed to dominate the sculpture. The trend in stone decoration evolved from the simple incising of stones to the production of bas-relief carvings. This then developed into uniquely shaped pieces of stonework comprising a third style, and although the three phases overlap, there is a generally linear chronology to their production.

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