Chinese Traditional Decorative Knots
iPhoneOgraphy – 13 Mar 2016 (Day 73/366)
Chinese knotting (Chinese: 中國結; pinyin: Zhōngguó jié) is a decorative handicraft art that began as a form of Chinese folk art in theTang and Song Dynasty (960 – 1279 AD) in China. It was later popularized in the Ming Dynasty. The art is also referred to as “Chinese traditional decorative knots”. 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.
Archaeological studies indicate that the art of tying knots dates back to prehistoric times. Recent discoveries include 100,000-year-old bone meddles 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–CE6).
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.
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 CE when China began its modernization period. From 1912 to the end of the Cultural Revolution in 1976, the art of Chinese knotting was almost lost.