Solomon's knot (in Latin Salomonis sigillum) is a common name for a traditional decorative motif used since ancient times and found in many cultures. Despite the word “knot” in the name, it is not a true knot according to the definitions of mathematical theory.
Solomon's knot consists of two closed loops, which are alternately connected - intertwined with each other twice. In other words, the Solomon knot has four intersections, where two loops are woven under and above each other (in contrast, for example, from the simpler drawing of two crossed algebraic lines of the Hopf connective).
As an artistic ornament, it is most often depicted as consisting of loops, which alternately intersect, becoming the sides of the central square, while the four loopings extend outward in four directions. These four loops can have oval, square, or triangular ends, and they can also be free-form, such as leaves, petals, blades, blades, wings, etc.
Interpreting "Solomon's Knot"
"Solomon's knot" has been used by many cultures in different historical eras, and therefore the range of its symbolic interpretations is extremely wide. Since it has no visible beginning or end, it can mean immortality and eternity - like a complex Buddhist symbol for infinity.
Often, in the Christian tradition, it is interpreted as a symbol of all Christian denominations, and at the same time, in many cultures, it is a secular symbol of prestige, significance and beauty.
Geography of distribution
Images of the "Solomon's Knot" are found all over the world: on cult objects and secular items from Africa, the Middle East, the USA, to Celtic jewelry and ancient Latvian textiles, on parts of metal structures of ancient pagan deities.
Solomon's knot is often found in ancient Roman mosaics, where it is usually represented as two intertwined ovals.
One of the oldest mosaics on which the image of the "Solomon's Knot" was found is located in the Tzippori National Park in Israel, on the territory of an ancient synagogue.
The entire ornament on the famous early Christian gold Celtic Cross dating from around the 12th century, which is located in the National Archaeological Museum of Ireland in Dublin, consists of a "Solomon's Knot" weave. But, unlike more complex designs, it consists of very small knots, made in a simple and clean form. According to legend, in the center of this cross under a quartz crystal there is a void, in which there was once a splinter from the "Life-giving Cross", on which, according to legend, Jesus Christ was crucified.
Found images of "Solomon's Knot" throughout the Middle East - in Islamic lands: in mosques, madrasahs, etc. This indicates that it has been part of the Muslim tradition for a long time. For example, he is depicted all over the doorway of the mosque-madrasah of the early 20th century in Cairo. Two versions of Solomon's knot were recently discovered by archaeologists in a floor mosaic at Yattir in Jordan. Very often, a similar pattern is found on ancient prayer rugs. In Spain, in houses of the Moorish tradition, the knot was depicted on stained glass. In London there is an Egyptian Quran dating back to the 14th century, and its pediment also depicts the "Solomon's Knot".
In the United States, there is a city in which the image of Solomon's Knot can be found everywhere: in the Powell Library of the University of California, built in 1926, the ceiling beams in the main reading room are covered with Solomon's Knots; the Museum of the History of Cultures Fowler has a large African Yoruba collection, which includes beadwork of the XIX-XX centuries, consisting of the image of the "Solomon's Knot" - such jewelry was worn only by those who could belong to African royal dynasties; in the Jewish cemetery there are numerous images of the "Solomon's Knot", made in bas-reliefs of stone and concrete; in the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of Hagia Sophia, there is an olive-tree Epitaphios (Shroud of Christ) with "Solomon's Knots" depicted in each corner. Epitephaios is used in Greek Easter services. This is Los Angeles.
In music, there is an ancient canon written in the 17th century by the Tuscan Archbishop Pietro Valentini of the Diocese of Pitigliano Sovana Orbetello, which is also called "Solomon's Knot".
Nowadays "Solomon's Knot" can be found more often in weaving macrame and knitting and crocheting. In the modern world, the interpretation of the "knot" in the form of the Celtic Cross can be found on jewelry, T-shirts, tattoos, cups, logos, advertisements and tarot cards.
It should be noted that the conventional image of the sign of the atom, where electrons revolve around the nucleus, is also a modified "Solomon's Knot".