There are wonderful examples interlacing patterns in Islamic art. These are not called Celtic knots, and they don't make you think of twisted ropes or knots in the same way. But they do have the distinctive 'under and over' of Celtic knots, and play the same games of reflective and rotational symmetry. It could be that once you start playing with the idea, this is inevitable!
These patterns are from the Alhambra palace, in Granada, Spain. This was was constructed during the mid 14th century by the Moorish rulers of Granada. The interlacing patterns may derive from other Islamic culture such as Persia, but the Moors came from North Africa, which was part of the Roman Empire. Spain itself was part of the Roman empire as well, of course. Perhaps the twisted rope patterns in Roman mosaics helped to influence these designs, developed into a strict geometric form.
Click here for outline versions of these patterns, for colouring in.
Some of these patterns have the strands coloured in, leaving the background white. To help disentangle the pattern, click on the buttons to high-light each colour. Other patterns leave the strands white and colour the background. The buttons offer different options then. The Celtic knots in the rest of this website tend to colour all the strands the same colour, so the last button does the same, so you can see how similar the underlying pattern is to a Celtic knot.
This is a border. The pattern repeats.
This is adapted from a border. In the original, there are 15 repeated elements on each side rather than 3. Since it starts as all black, I have not given a version where it's all the same. Instead, I have coloured the loops, and isolated the different types.
Click on the images below to jump to the full sized version.
This is a pattern from the Hall of the Two Sisters. I am working from photos for these patterns and I can't find a single photo of the whole pattern, so I have combined several photos which overlap. You will need to scroll right (see bottom of screen) as well as down to see the whole picture.
This leaves the strands white and colours the background. The large patterns all seem to have centres, but this one definitely radites out from the centre. I have coloured in the strands to show this.
Another complicated pattern, and again, I've combined the results from several photos. You will need to scroll right (see bottom of screen) as well as down to see the whole picture.
This leaves the strands white and colours the background. I couldn't see the left or right border of this in the photo, so I've invented them. This pattern looks very regular, with different parts of the background coloured different ways to emphasise them. But its underlying structure is complicated. There are diagonal and horizontal and vertical lines, but they often don't extend throughout the pattern. There are also various types of stars, not regularly spaced. I have tried colouring in the strands as well, leaving the background white, similar to the previous patterns. It ends up rather a mess! You will need to scroll right (see bottom of screen) as well as down to see the whole picture.
This is a doorway. The pattern is designed of interleaving shapes, with a border of black lines. In the original, the gaps contain shields and other patterns, but I have left those out.