Art began as an expression of the world around us - animals, plants, and heavenly bodies. Their participation in the cycle of life was appreciated and respected. We saw the similarities between reproduction in nature and a woman's fertility and both took on a religious meaning. The snake was worshipped because of its immortality through transformation. The vulture was respected as a symbol of purity because it cleaned the flesh from bones to leave a person or an animal ready for regeneration.
Age of ObsidianEdit
As the matriarchal settlements and tribes were overwhelmed by patriarchal tribes and their culture, art changed fundamentally. Instead of respecting their participation in life, the world around them was seen to represent human emotions and actions. Some symbolism was forgotten altogether and became purely abstract. Others, like the snake and the vulture, came to represent evil and the most disgusting human qualities, respectively.
In the post-Roman period, British art became a synthesis of old Celtic and Roman designs and symbols. The famous Celtic triquetra, the fascination with the head, the connection of water with holiness, and the Pictish symbols were variously joined with Christian icons, manuscripts, and Roman motifs.