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Author Topic: war paint (celtic)  (Read 5209 times)

blackwolf696

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war paint (celtic)
« on: June 19, 2012, 10:45:13 pm »
so iv seen in some movies, shows, books, and some games that celtic warriors painted their bodys. they used (traditionally) blue paint that was seen as a form of protection. what iv been looking for was the designs they used for their face and bodies, i cant find anything and was wondering if any one knew of a site, or something that would show designs and meanings if they have any. or are the designs all personal/random?
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Celtag

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Re: war paint (celtic)
« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2012, 10:57:34 pm »
Quote from: blackwolf696;60903
so iv seen in some movies, shows, books, and some games that celtic warriors painted their bodys. they used (traditionally) blue paint that was seen as a form of protection. what iv been looking for was the designs they used for their face and bodies, i cant find anything and was wondering if any one knew of a site, or something that would show designs and meanings if they have any. or are the designs all personal/random?
I would say they used a lot of spiral designs. Triskeles and so forth.
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Aster Breo

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war paint (celtic)
« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2012, 01:21:34 am »
Quote from: blackwolf696;60903
i cant find anything and was wondering if any one knew of a site, or something that would show designs and meanings if they have any. or are the designs all personal/random?

You'll probably have to settle for info on Celtic art in general, rather than finding much specifically about "war paint".

Since the Celts didn't write much down, we don't have a lot of solid historical info about their culture and customs.  A fair number of decorated items have survived, though, unlike human bodies that might display the specific kind of art you're asking about.  

There is a discernible "style" that most people are referring to when they think of "Celtic art".  As already mentioned, spiral motifs figure very prominently (spirals, double spirals, triskels), along with zig zags, diamonds (often called "lozenges"), circles, equal-armed crosses and variations on the swastika, viney kinds of plants, and lots of stylized animals.  The human head is also an important recurring motif, but I personally think it's less likely that it would be painted on the body much.

There is actually quite a lot of material out there about Celtic art.  I'm sorry I can't give you links (I'm posting from my phone), but a google search should give you plenty to start with.  If searching "Celtic art" is too broad, try the term "Le Tene" -- the name given to a specific period of Celtic history from which many examples of amazingly beautiful art have been found (named after a location where a lot of the artifacts were first discovered).

If you're looking for books, as opposed to websites, I'd recommend _Celtic Art: Symbols & Imagery_ by Miranda Green, _Early Celtic Art in Britain and Ireland_ by Ruth and VincentMegaw, and _Art of the Celts_ by Lloyd and Jennifer Lang.  For info specifically on the symbolism of artistic elements, try _Symbol & Image in Celtic Religious Art_ by Miranda Green or _Symbols of the Celts_ by Sabine Heinz.  Heinz's book is a lot less academic than Green's, but still a good starting point.

You might also be interested in Pictish art, which is related. _A Wee Guide to the Picts_ actually isn't bad, although it's very short, as the title suggests.  _The Art of the Picts: Sculpture and Metalwork in Early Medieval Scotland_ by George Henderson and Isabel Henderson is great.

Your local (or school?) library might have some of these books.

Hope this helps!

~ Aster
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blackwolf696

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Re: war paint (celtic)
« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2012, 01:37:59 am »
Quote from: Aster Breo;60926
You'll probably have to settle for info on Celtic art in general, rather than finding much specifically about "war paint".

Since the Celts didn't write much down, we don't have a lot of solid historical info about their culture and customs.  A fair number of decorated items have survived, though, unlike human bodies that might display the specific kind of art you're asking about.  

There is a discernible "style" that most people are referring to when they think of "Celtic art".  As already mentioned, spiral motifs figure very prominently (spirals, double spirals, triskels), along with zig zags, diamonds (often called "lozenges"), circles, equal-armed crosses and variations on the swastika, viney kinds of plants, and lots of stylized animals.  The human head is also an important recurring motif, but I personally think it's less likely that it would be painted on the body much.

There is actually quite a lot of material out there about Celtic art.  I'm sorry I can't give you links (I'm posting from my phone), but a google search should give you plenty to start with.  If searching "Celtic art" is too broad, try the term "Le Tene" -- the name given to a specific period of Celtic history from which many examples of amazingly beautiful art have been found (named after a location where a lot of the artifacts were first discovered).

If you're looking for books, as opposed to websites, I'd recommend _Celtic Art: Symbols & Imagery_ by Miranda Green, _Early Celtic Art in Britain and Ireland_ by Ruth and VincentMegaw, and _Art of the Celts_ by Lloyd and Jennifer Lang.  For info specifically on the symbolism of artistic elements, try _Symbol & Image in Celtic Religious Art_ by Miranda Green or _Symbols of the Celts_ by Sabine Heinz.  Heinz's book is a lot less academic than Green's, but still a good starting point.

You might also be interested in Pictish art, which is related. _A Wee Guide to the Picts_ actually isn't bad, although it's very short, as the title suggests.  _The Art of the Picts: Sculpture and Metalwork in Early Medieval Scotland_ by George Henderson and Isabel Henderson is great.

Your local (or school?) library might have some of these books.

Hope this helps!

~ Aster

 
thank you, the only thing i could find (but usually in poor lighting) is the really awsome group from ireland Mael Mordha. they paint them selves up like celtic warriors before they go on stage, but alot of the pix of them are usually in low lighting.
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Aster Breo

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war paint (celtic)
« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2012, 01:47:44 am »
Quote from: blackwolf696;60929
thank you, the only thing i could find (but usually in poor lighting) is the really awsome group from ireland Mael Mordha. they paint them selves up like celtic warriors before they go on stage, but alot of the pix of them are usually in low lighting.

Yeah.  The reason there's not more out there to find is that we really have very little to go on, historically and academically.  There are a couple of references to the Celts painting their bodies before battles, but those references come from people who were outsiders to Celtic culture and may have had political motives for making the Celts sound as dangerous and barbaric as possible.

Human bodies decompose, so no examples of this kind of body art have survived.  (Although I do a have very vague wisp of a memory about some traces of body paint being found on a body that had been preserved in a bog, or something like that.  Maybe someone else will know more about that.)

I really think your best bet is to look into Celtic art in general.  I think the kinds of designs used in body paint would have been very similar to designs used in other kinds of art.
"The status is not quo."  ~ Dr. Horrible
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