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Ancient Celtic Coin Art

8 9 WATCHERS hidden faces of the spirit world One of the characteristics of Iron Age art is the continual appearance of faces that emerge from every design, whether narrative, vegetable or abstract. Their occurrence is so ubiquitous and they are often created with such skill that it is difficult to dismiss them as simply accidental. Wherever the viewer looks, something is looking back watching, vigilant, beneficent, humorous or threatening, a constant reminder that the world is full of hidden spirits, that appearances disguise hidden reality, that the world itself is as sentient and powerfully influential as the strongest chieftain or wisest druid. Iron Age coins acted as a magical and metaphorical exchange of power in a universe that was also perceived as essentially magical. An important key to the understanding of Iron Age art is thus to avoid the current tendency to separate inner, subjective experience such as imagination from the outer, objective world of real things. From an animistic and shamanic viewpoint all experience is equally real a thought is as real as a sword, and sounds, dreams and visions are as tangible as birds flying across the sky. a. b. c. d. e. f. g. h. i. j. k.
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