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Notes: Clothing, sedan chairs (or palanquins), jewelry, accessories, etc, etc. Nothing could not be improved by a good tassel, especially one with knots. This is a “bai” (tribe) wedding collar.

Text: and everything in between

knotted tasseled bai wedding collar

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Notes: They also decorated everything that didn’t move: room screens, chairs or thrones, all kinds of furniture were fair game for knotted tassels

Text: Everything that Didn’t

image of a tassel hanging from a wall screen

Annotation: Scanned from Lydia Chen's Chinese Knotting 3, the image is one of the imperial throne room with the gilded furniture further decorated with knotted tassels. The picture is a little grainy and low contrast, so I highlighted the knots.

Books mentioned in this post:

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Notes: In China they put knotted tassels on every thing that moved. Weapons, fans, the scholar’s scepter, and musical instruments were often decorated thusly.

Text: Asian Knots... Everything that moved

woman in martial arts pose with a tasseled Chinese sword

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Notes: The Pan Chang knot (also known as the Endless knot or the Mystic knot) is one of the eight buddhist treasures. It represents the endless cycle of life, the infinite wisdom of Buddha, the duality (yin and yang) of existence, and is also a symbol of balance and harmony.

Additionally, from older traditions, knots are thought to be where gods dwell and as a result bring good luck. It is for this reason that monks would wear knots and knots are hung in temples.

shutara: “flower knots”. knots are where the gods dwell, and knots hung in a room will drive away evil spirits and invite good fortune. Shutara were hung on a monk’s shoulders over the formal surplice to ensure that the words of the sutras would not be dispersed.

Text: The endless knot is one of the eight buddhist treasures.

The gods are said to dwell in knots.

the endless knot, one of the 8 Buddhist treasures

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Sandra Norrbin artwork: tangled balls of rope How to
An Instructable for how to condition and dye hemp rope. Better (?) they list a rope source that I had not heard of before. It's interesting that there's a disclaimer at the beginning about using your rope safely, but nothing in the dyeing part that once you use your nice big pot for dyeing your rope, you should never use it for food again.

Frayed Knot has an index of how to/tutorials to which a variety of knot tyers have contributed.

On March 29, 2009 at a blood drive in Malasia at the Tzu Chi Miri Liaison office, they are also doing a number of craft activities and demos including teaching Chinese knots.

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Notes: The histories of Japan clearly record the wrapping of a gift from China to the Japanese Emperor in 607CE which so impressed him with its elegance that it gave rise to the art of mizuhiki. Hanamusubi is obviously an art closely related to mizuhiki, although hanamusubi’s rise is closely tied to the introduction of Buddhism (in the 6th century, gaining mass acceptance closer to the 8th century)

Text: Chinese gift to the Japanese Emperor in 607CE gives rise to the arts of mizuhiki and hanamusubi.

Notes: Cord braiding and silk knotting arrived with the Chinese Lolang colony in northwestern Korea in approximately 10 BCE. Integration of decorative knots as a part of traditional Korean dress seems to have happened during the Three Kingdoms period (57 BCE - 668 CE). Decorative knotting evolved in the hands of fishermen and textile artisans in the general population until the late 19th-early 20th centuries when royal norigae artisans under pressure to create newer, different, better, and more did exactly that.

Text: Cord and knot arts arrived with a Chinese colony in Korea in 10 BCE.

Maedup flowered under the royal norigae artisans in the late 19th-early 20th centuries.

a Korean dress (hanbok) tie pendant, norigae

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Notes: As with so many things to do with the history, development and culture of China, Korea and Japan, the situation is not well defined and each has influenced the other. That being said, it is generally agreed by experts in each nation that decorative knotting traditions probably began in China.

Archaeological records derived from bronzes, statues, carvings, paintings, and (in one important case) clay moulds (205BCE) show that decorative knotting was definitely a thriving and noteworthy craft by 475 BCE. The art developed during the Tang (618 - 709) and Song (960 - 1279) dynasties and flowered during the Ming (1368 - 1644) and Qing (1644 - 1911) dynasties.

Text: China, Korea and Japan each has a rich tradition in decorative knotting.

girls in red chinese clothes holding knots

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The second slide deals with knots as recorded history. Immediately the problem of researching the provenance of the images rears it's ugly head, but at least I found one. Have fun following the links! 8)


Hey, blog posts can be book pages. Will have to try that....

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Procrastination is a strange thing. I was doing pretty well with the daily thing for at least 2 months and then mid-March I stumbled big-time. Then the longer I wasn't posting, the less incentive there was to post. I came up with a few ideas to help me keep up, but never did them. I tied a number of knots including more Ashley knots and some seasonal ones not to mention finishing the give away tassels. While I haven't scanned the seasonal knots, I had long ago scanned the give away tassels. Why not post them? It's quick, no? As the offspring are fond of saying: "I dunno..."

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