decorative Asian knotting

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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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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square flower knot tied in white and black shoelace While the flower knot, when considered as a polygonal knot, is a family unto itself with many (many!) variations starting with the number of petals (ears) and the ways that the structural loops interlace, the basic square flower knot is also the basic unit of the mystic knot (see right

2x2 mystic knot tied in black, white and grey shoelaces1x1 mystic knot tied in black and white shoelaces In the next post, I'll illustrate the relationship, but for now let me just say that the square form of the flower knot (see right) is the basic unit of the mystic knot (see left). The Ashley Book of Knots (also known as Ashley's or ABoK) has much to say on the topic of mystic knots, but not in those words (Ashley calls this knot family the Chinese butterfly knots), so let's extract them and put them in one post for easy reference, shall we? I'm making pronouncements based on visual inspection and could easily be wrong, I'll tie them and post the pictures later, correcting as I go if necessary...

mystic knot tied in a black, white and grey shoelaces The mystic knot is the pan chang knot is the endless knot and is also less commonly known as the coil knot and the temple knot. Pan chang is, of course, the romanization of the Chinese name. The best literal translation of pan chang is probably coil, but the word evokes a much different image for most, I would suspect.

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Originally published as a part of the Knot Heads World Wide eZine first issue.

plafond knot Western knotting is a very male story involving sailors and cowboys (farmers and mountain climbers) except for a brief interruption for macramé owls and plant hangers. Chinese knotting with it’s strongly decorative bent is a different story... or is it?

hexagonal stellar knot type 2 tied in a shoelacehexagonal stellar knot type 2 sucessfully tied As previously mentioned, I decided to tie the hexagonal type 2 stellar knot with my nice and graphic shoelace in hopes of gaining insight as to what exactly was going wrong. As you can see from the picture to the left, I didn't succeed in tying the knot any better with the shoelace, but I did gain insight:
1) the type 2 is created by a process similar to extra overlapping in a standard flower knot

With those nice hexagonal beads, I wanted to frame them with a hexagonal knot. It didn't need to be particularly stable as I'd be reinforcing the central area with thread (and more beads), so likely I'd be taking a hexagonal knot and reduce the amount of overlapping an favour of a bigger centre hole, the better to display the framed bead rather than hide it. Looking through Lydia Chen's third book, I decided on the "Type 2 Compound Constellation Knot" which unlike your basic hexagonal stellar knot (which is uouu) has a structural loop path of uuouo. At this point I've tied it about 6-7 times and each time it looks... funny. As usual with a new polygonal knot, it's the last interlacing pass on the back side that's tricky.

creeper knot in black, white and greyback of creeper knot in black, white and grey So here's the creeper knot. You'll notice the free ends extending to either side versus the usual free ends making up an ear of the knot. That's because the creeper is meant to wrap around an object, like the bow on a package. The description in the book makes me think that she maybe wanted "vine" versus "creeper" but...

So, having all my components, I started in on the illustrations:

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