A carpet page is a page of pure ornament, looking rather like an oriental carpet, with brilliant colours, active lines and complex patterns. They are commonly found in books in the Insular style, that is, the illuminated Celtic manuscripts produced in Irish and British monasteries from 600 to 900 AD. It has been suggested that the complexity of the ornamentation in carpet pages was believed to confuse evil spirits, thus keeping safe the sacred information contained in the chapters to follow. Some art historians have found ties between Insular carpet pages, Middle Eastern decorative text pages and oriental carpets. In this carpet page by Rachel Arbuckle, the artist has combined the geometric, angular lines of Moorish art with the softer curves and intricate interlacing of the Celts. The central structure of the design is a cross shape which is often found in Insular carpet pages, except in this case the artist has altered the proportions to suggest the four gates of the Tibetan mandala. Dogs, which are used as ornamentation throughout the design, feature extensively in Insular art and appear to have been adapted by Irish and Scottish monastic artists from a style of animal pattern which was found in Germanic art at the time. The result is a contemporary Celtic design which draws on an eclectic mix of styles and cultures, reflecting the possible influences from more exotic climes in Insular art.
50 x 66.5cm
19.75" x 26.25"