Monday, September 9, 2013

Ancient Chinese Knotting

The knot. Often the first thing to come to a person's mind when they think of the word knot is the shoe lace that you can't undo, or the mess that your earphones can get in after being in your bag. This might be the case in this place and age, but in ancient China knots often had symbolic and traditional meanings. In Chinese the word “knot” literally meant the joining of two cords and not the general hard place in a string that our word means. Back it the day Chinese knotting reached a point of being an art form unto itself. These small pieces of art could be seen in paintings and statues from ages that we are unable to find the actual knots from. Even though there is evidence of knotting taking place for thousands of years before, the only knots that have survived the ages have been from the late Ching Dynasty and early Republican period. This is because of the erodible nature of the silk cords the traditional knots were made out of. These small art works in their time, could be found in clothing and adorning otherwise mundane items. In a way they were decorations for decorations, and could be found on wind chimes, lanterns, fan tassels, hairpins, and many other things.
True these knots often were just for decoration, but a lot of them also had symbols and meanings behind they shape and making. Some were made for longevity, happiness, and prosperity. Some others were Buddhist treasures, and could express blessings, best wishes and even as a sign of being in love with someone.
As a few examples of these knots with meanings we have the double coin knot, which ancient merchants hung over their tents in the hopes of attracting wealth. Sometimes this knot also meant longevity when used in other places.
Another knot is the sauvastika knot. This one is actually a knot with Buddhist related meanings. Apparently it symbolizes buddha's heart; the power to overcome evil and favor the good.
Then there is the cross knot. This knot simply means the number ten. Finally we have the brocade ball knot which is synonymous with selecting a husband. If a maid is indecisive about who to “tie-the-knot” with she has only to throw this knot in the midst of the people who would have her, and whoever catches it wins.
That is just a few facts about this ancient and often overlooked art form. There is much more about the knots that isn't in this article so if you have found an interest in these beauties just look around the web and see what more you can find out about them that isn't written here.