Chinese knotting

Chinese knotting (Chinese: 中国结; pinyin: Zhōngguó jié) is a decorative handicraft art that began as a form of Chinese folk art in the Tang and Song dynasty (960–1279 CE) in China. The technique was later popularized in the Ming and spread to Japan and Korea. The art is also referred to as "Chinese traditional decorative knots".[1] In other cultures, it is known as "decorative knots".

Chinese knots are usually lanyard type arrangements where two cords enter from the top of the knot and two cords leave from the bottom. The knots are usually double-layered and symmetrical.[2]

Eight chinese knots
Eight examples of one traditional Chinese knot.

History

Chinese knot
A Chinese knot

Archaeological studies indicate that the art of tying knots dates back to prehistoric times. Recent discoveries include 100,000-year-old bone needles used for sewing and bodkins, which were used to untie knots. However, due to the delicate nature of the medium, few examples of prehistoric Chinese knotting exist today. Some of the earliest evidence of knotting have been preserved on bronze vessels of the Warring States period (481–221 BCE), Buddhist carvings of the Northern Dynasties period (317–581) and on silk paintings during the Western Han period (206 BCE–6 CE).

Further references to knotting have also been found in literature, poetry and the private letters of some of the most famous rulers of China. In the 18th century, one novel that talked extensively about the art was Dream of the Red Chamber.[3]

The phenomenon of knot tying continued to steadily evolve over the course of thousands of years with the development of more sophisticated techniques and increasingly intricate woven patterns. During the Qing Dynasty (1644–1911) knotting finally broke from its pure folklore status, becoming an acceptable art form in Chinese society and reached the pinnacle of its success. Knotting continued to flourish up until about the end of imperial China and the founding of the Republic of China in 1911 when China began its modernization period.[1] From 1912 to the end of the Cultural Revolution in 1976, the art of Chinese knotting was almost lost.[1]

Regional

China

Historically knotwork is divided into cords and knots. In the dynastic periods, a certain number of craftsmen were stationed in the court and outside the court to produce cords and knots in order to meet the increasing demand for them at various places of the court. Cord, knot and tassels were made separated and combined later.

Around the times of Chinese new year festival, Chinese knot decorations can be seen hanging on walls, doors of homes and as shop decorations to add some festival feel. Usually, these decorations are in red color, which traditional Chinese regards it as a color of "luck".

Japan

With greater emphasis on the braids that are used to create the knots, Japanese knotting (also known as hanamusubi) tends to focus on individual knots.

Korea

In Korea, decorative knotwork is known as maedeup (매듭), often called Korean knotwork or Korean knots. The origins of Maedeup date back to the Three Kingdoms of Korea in the first century CE. Maedeup articles were first used at religious ceremonies.[4] Inspired by Chinese knotwork, a wall painting found in Anak, Hwanghae Province, now in North Korea, dated 357 CE, indicates that the work was flourishing in silk at that time. Decorative cording was used on silk dresses, to ornament swords, to hang personal items from belts for the aristocracy, in rituals, where it continues now in contemporary wedding ceremonies. Korean knotwork is differentiated from Korean embroidery. Maedeup is still a commonly practiced traditional art, especially amongst the older generations.

The most basic knot in Maedeup is called the Dorae or double connection knot. The Dorae knot is used at the start and end of most knot projects. There are approximately 33 basic Korean knots which vary according to the region they come from.[4] The Bong Sool tassel is noteworthy as the most representative work familiar to Westerners, and often purchased as souvenirs for macramé-style wall-hangings.

Types of knots

Chinese Knot P4R
A 4-row Pan Chang knot with cross knots
Chinese Good Luck Knot
An example of the "good luck" knot
Chinese Butterfly Knot
A Chinese butterfly knot lanyard with cross knots
MAP Expo Armure Honkozane XVII 06 01 2012 2
An agemaki knot

Lydia Chen lists eleven basic types of Chinese decorative knotwork in her first book. More complex knots are then constructed from repeating or combining basic knots. They are:

Name Alternate names
Cloverleaf knot Four-flower knot, dragonfly knot, ginger knot (Korean)
Round brocade knot Six-flower knot
Chinese button knot Knife Lanyard knot, Bosun Whistle knot
Double connection knot Matthew Walker knot
Double coin knot Carrick Bend, Josephine knot
Sauvastika knot Agemaki (Japanese)
Cross knot Friendship knot, Japanese crown knot
Square knot
Plafond knot 天花板結 Spectacle/glasses knot (Korean), caisson ceiling knot
Pan Chang knot 盤長結 Coil knot, temple knot, Endless knot, Chrysanthemum knot (Korean), 2x2 mystic knot
Good luck knot

One major characteristic of decorative knotwork is that all the knots are tied using one piece of thread, which is usually about one meter in length. However, finished knots look identical from both the front and back. They can come in a variety of colors such as gold, green, blue or black, though the most commonly used color is red. This is because it symbolizes good luck and prosperity.

There are many different shapes of Chinese knots, the most common being butterflies, flowers, birds, dragons, fish, and even shoes. Culturally they were expected to ward off evil spirits similar to bagua mirrors or act as good-luck charms for Chinese marriages.

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c Zonglin Chang and Xukui Li, Aspect of Chinese culture, 2006. 中国文化导读. 清华大学出版社 publishing.
  2. ^ www.chineseknotting.org
  3. ^ Chen, Lydia. [2003] (2003). Chinese Knotting: Creative Designs that are Easy and Fun. Tuttle Publishing. ISBN 0-8048-3399-0
  4. ^ a b J. Van Rensburg, Elsabe, Knot Another!, Bangkok: Bleho Media, 2009. ISBN 6119020403

External links

Adjustable grip hitch

The adjustable grip hitch is a simple and useful friction hitch which may easily be shifted up and down the rope while slack. It will hold fast when loaded, but slip when shock loaded until tension is relieved enough for it to again hold fast.

This knot is also called the adjustable loop and the Cawley adjustable hitch.

Arbor knot

The Arbor knot is a typical fishers' knot. Its primary use is to attach fishing line to the arbor of a fishing reel.

Basket weave knot

The basket weave knots are a family of bend and lanyard knots with a regular pattern of over–one, under–one. All of these knots are rectangular and lie in a plane. They are named after plait-woven baskets, which have a similar appearance.

Carrick bend

The Carrick bend, also known as the Sailor's breastplate, is a knot used for joining two lines. It is particularly appropriate for very heavy rope or cable that is too large and stiff to be easily formed into other common bends. It will not jam even after carrying a significant load or being soaked with water.As with many other members of the basket weave knot family, the carrick bend's aesthetically pleasing interwoven and symmetrical shape has also made it popular for decorative purposes.

Cossack knot

The Cossack knot (Russian: Казачий узел) is a loop that places a loop in the end of the rope. It is quite common in Russia and is often used instead of the bowline.

The knot is not mentioned in The Ashley Book of Knots but in its Russian equivalent, the book "Морские узлы" by Lev Skryagin (1930–2000). With slippage the knot is known as Kalmyk loop.

Double overhand noose

The double overhand noose is a very secure hitch knot. It might be used by cavers and canyoneers to bind a cow tail or a foot loop to a carabiner.

Fireman's chair knot

A fireman's chair knot (or simply chair knot) is a knot tied in the bight forming two adjustable, lockable loops. The knot consists of a handcuff knot finished with a locking half hitch around each loop. The loops remain adjustable until the half hitches are tightened.

Friendship knot

The friendship knot is a decorative knot which is used to tie neckerchieves, lanyards and in Chinese knotting.

Halyard bend

Halyard bend is a way to attach the end of a rope at right angle to a cylindrical object such as a beam.

History of knotting

Knots and knotting have been used and studied throughout history. For example, Chinese knotting is a decorative handicraft art that began as a form of Chinese folk art in the Tang and Song Dynasty (960-1279 AD) in China, later popularized in the Ming. Knot theory is the recent mathematical study of unknots.

Knots of ancient origin include the bottle sling, bowline, cat's paw, clove hitch, cow hitch, double fisherman's knot, eskimo bowline, figure-eight knot, fisherman's knot, half hitch, kalmyk loop, one-sided overhand bend, overhand knot, overhand loop, reef knot, running bowline, single hitch, thief knot, Turk's head knot, and two half-hitches.

The eleven main knots of Chinese knotting are the four-flower knot, six-flower knot, Chinese button knot, double connection knot, double coin knot, agemaki, cross knot, square knot, Plafond knot, Pan Chang knot, and the good luck knot.

Knots of more recent origin include the friendship knot of Chinese knotting. The sheepshank knot originates from 1627 while the Western Union splice originates from the beginning of telegraphy.

Improved clinch knot

The improved clinch knot is a knot that is used for securing a fishing line to the fishing lure, but can also affix fishing line to a swivel, clip, or artificial fly. This is a common knot used by anglers because of its simple tie and strong hold. When more pull is being applied, the harder the knot turns into itself, increasing the strength of the connection. It can be used with many kinds of line including mono-filament, fluorocarbon, and braided fishing line.

Killick hitch

The killick hitch is a type of hitch knot used to attach a rope to oddly shaped objects. This knot is also known as the kelleg hitch. It is a combination of a timber hitch tied in conjunction with a half hitch, which is added to lend support and stability when pulling or hoisting the object; the addition of a half-hitch in front of the timber hitch creates a timber hitch and a half hitch, known as a killick hitch when at sea. A killick is "a small anchor or weight for mooring a boat, sometimes consisting of a stone secured by pieces of wood".

Macramé

Macramé is a form of textile produced using knotting (rather than weaving or knitting) techniques.

The primary knots of macramé are the square or reef knot) and forms of "hitching": various combinations of half hitches. It was long crafted by sailors, especially in elaborate or ornamental knotting forms, to cover anything from knife handles to bottles to parts of ships.

Cavandoli macramé is one variety that is used to form geometric and free-form patterns like weaving. The Cavandoli style is done mainly in a single knot, the double half-hitch knot. Reverse half hitches are sometimes used to maintain balance when working left and right halves of a balanced piece.

Leather or fabric belts are another accessory often created via macramé techniques. Most friendship bracelets exchanged among schoolchildren and teens are created using this method. Vendors at theme parks, malls, seasonal fairs and other public places may sell macramé jewellery or decoration as well.

Masuleh

Masuleh pronunciation (Persian: ماسوله‎, also Romanized as Māsūleh, Masoleh and Masouleh is a village in the Sardar-e Jangal District, in Fuman County, Gilan Province, Iran. At the 2006 census, its population was 554 individuals from 180 families.Historical names for the city include Māsalar and Khortāb. It was founded in the 10th century AD.

Masuleh is approximately 60 km southwest of Rasht and 32 km west of Fuman. The village is 1,050 meters above sea level in the Alborz (or Elburz) mountain range, near the southern coast of the Caspian Sea. The village itself has a difference in elevation of 100 meters.

Although it has been written that the community was established around 10 AD, the province of Gilan has a long history. The first village of Masuleh was established around 1006 AD, 6 km northwest of the current city, and it is called Old-Masuleh (Kohneh Masuleh in Persian). People moved from Old-Masuleh to the current city because of pestilence and attacks from neighbouring communities.

Masouheh-Rood-Khan is the river passing through the city, with a waterfall located just 200 meters away from the village. It's cut-off by snow during the winter months. Fog is the predominant weather feature of Masuleh.

Portuguese bowline

The Portuguese bowline is a variant of the bowline with two loops. The two loops are adjustable in size, unlike the Spanish bowline. Rope can be pulled from one loop into the other one even after tightening. Like the Spanish bowline, it can be used as a makeshift Bosun's chair.

Slippery eight loop

The slippery eight loop is an adjustable loop knot discovered by Dave Poston in 2002.

T-splice

In electrical wiring, a T-splice is a splice that is used for connecting the end of one wire to the middle of another wire, thus forming a shape like that of the letter "T." This splice can be used with solid or stranded wires. The existing wire is called the main wire. The new wire that connects to the main wire is called the branch wire or tap wire. This is a prevalent junction type used in knob and tube wiring.

Tarbuck knot

The Tarbuck knot was developed by Kenneth Tarbuck for use by climbers, and was primarily used with stranded nylon ropes before the advent of kernmantle ropes made this use both unnecessary and unsafe. It is used when the rope is subject to heavy or sudden loads, as it will slide to a limited extent thus reducing shock. The knot is non-jamming.

Triple crown knot

The triple crown knot is a double loop knot. It is secure and symmetrical, but can jam when tightened.

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