An examination of the Tree of Life and Tree of Knowledge In Irish Christian art and iconography
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This thesis is the first study investigating the motif of the Tree of Life and Tree of Knowledge in Irish Christian art and iconography between the seventh and twelfth centuries AD. It deals with the pre-Christian Irish sacred tree traditions, a general overview of both the nature and representations of the Tree of Life and Tree of Knowledge, followed with an exploration of their subsequent absorption into Irish Christian art and iconography. In the course of this examination the thesis highlights the use of Classical motifs in the representations of the Tree of Life in Irish art, though sparse as they occur. In studying the representations of the Tree of Knowledge on the Adam and Eve panels of the Irish high crosses this thesis reveals that they fall into two distinct forms based on their stylistic appearance, and that one form is significantly predominant. Focusing on just one panel reveals artistic and stylistic connections between individual crosses heretofore unknown.