Chinese Knot（Chinese:中国结） is a decorative handicraft that began as a folk art in Tang and Song Dynasties, and became popular in Ming and Qing Dynasties. It is distinctive for its complicated pattern woven separately from one piece of thread.
Chinese people have known how to tie knots using cords ever since they began learned how to attach animal fur to their bodies to keep warm thousands of years ago. As civilization advanced, Chinese people used knots for more than just fastening and wrapping. Knots were also used to record the events, while others had ornamental functions. In Chinese, ‘knot’ means reunion, peace, marriage, love, acquaintance and so on. Chinese knots are often used to express the above good wishes.
Types of Chinese Knots
The Chinese Knots are named according to their different shapes, usages and origins. The treasure knot, for example, is with the appearance of ‘Yuanbao’, the Chinese ancient golden ingot. And the button knot, which has the function as the button.
Each type of Chinese Knot usually has a beautiful and auspicious name. The material of the thread can be the cotton, nylon and so on, and many of them are red. The exquisitely symmetrical knots that come in so many forms are the valuable cultural heritage of China.
In the ancient time, the knots are pulled tightly and sturdily together that can be used for binding or wrapping, which making them very practical. In addition, it is endowed with high decorative value by its complicated structure. Almost all basic Chinese knots are symmetrical, which has set certain technical limitations on the design and creation of new patterns. Traditionally, symmetry pattern suites the aesthetic standards of the Chinese people well. Moreover, the symmetrical designs are the most popular among Chinese people visually.
Making the Chinese knot involves three processes, naming tying knots, tightening and adding the finishing touches.Knot- tying methods are fixed, but the tightening can determine the degree of tension in a knot, the length of loops (ears) and the smoothness and orderliness of the lines. Thus, how well a Chinese knot has been tightened can demonstrate the skill and artistic merit of a knot artist. Finishing a knot means inlaying pearls or jade stones, starching the knot into certain patterns, or adding any other final touches. Besides the Two-coin Knot, the Chinese knot is three dimensional in structure. It consists of two planes tied together leaving a hollow center. Such structure lends rigidity to the work as a whole and keeps its shape when hung on the wall. The hollow center also allows for the addition of precious stones, such as the jade.
Functions and Applications
The endless variations and elegant patterns of the Chinese knot, as well as the multitude of different materials that used have expanded the functions and widened the applications of the Chinese knot.
Jewelry, clothes, gift-wrapping and furniture can be accentuated with unique Chinese knot creations. The Chinese knot has been served as both the fixtures and decoration of palace halls and the daily implements of countryside households since long time ago. Large Chinese knot served as wall hangings have the same decorative value as fine paintings or photographs, and are perfectly suitable for decorating a parlor or study as well as the hall.
Chinese knot, with its classic elegance and ever-changing patterns, is both practical and ornamental, fully reflecting the grace of Chinese culture. With the economic and cultural global development, more Chinese people go abroad for business or study, which make Chinese knot widely spread in the world. It’s an elaborate gift full of Chinese culture.