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Chinese Knotting: the Art of Knotting

Sep 8, 2009

[sources] zhongguojie.org by 惦念(李莘)

Like many other traditional Chinese art, Chinese knotting has a long history. It dates back to prehistoric times, when Chinese ancestors tied knots to record events and things in their everyday life.

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, knotting finally broke from its pure folklore status, becoming an acceptable art form in Chinese society and reached the pinnacle of its success.

Lydia Chen -Return of Chinese Knotting in 1970s

Knotting continued to flourish up until about the end of imperial China and the founding of the Republic of China in 1911 AD 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 in mainstream public life.

In the late 1970s a resurgence of interest occurred in Taiwan, largely due to the efforts of Lydia Chen (Chen Hsia-Sheng 陳夏盛) of the National Palace Museum who founded the Chinese Knotting Promotion Center. In the 1980s, Mrs. Chen focused her energies on the knotting artifacts preserved during the Qing Dynasty.

With years of research and experience on Chinese knotting, Mrs. Chen published three books in English to introduce the Chinese traditional art to the rest of the world. You can find these books on Amazon.com via this link: Lydia Chen’s Books

Modern China: Chinese knotting is hot again

Beijing 2008 Bid logo

Beijing 2008 Bid logo

In recent decades, along with China’s political reformation and booming economy, Chinese people in Mainland also start to seek back their traditional treasuries. And of course, some of them devoted themselves to the art of Chinese knotting. Because of its aesthetic, practical value, simple application and blessing meaning, Chinese knotting soon become an indispensable symbol of Chinese life.

In 2000, Beijing submitted bid for the 29th Summer Olympic Games (2008). The symbol used in the submission was derived from Chinese knotting.

China Unicom, the 2nd largest wireless provider in China, uses a Chinese Knotting as its logo, representing the connection and blessing when people communicate.

China Unicom logo

China Unicom logo

zhongguojie.org – your best Chinese knotting resource

Besides Lydia Chen’s Books, there are also very good resources on the internet. If you can read Chinese, zhonguojie.org is a great website for you to know everything about Chinese knotting.

On zhongguojie.org, you can read picture and video tutorials about how to make Chinese knots. You can read the most recent fashion implicating Chinese knotting. You can also interacting with other experts and amateurs with your and their works.

Here is an example tutorial made by Chinese knotting expert 惦念. Why not try your own?

[source] 三回盘长结@ zhongguojie.org

[Chinese Keywords]
民间艺术 中国结

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  1. September 8th, 2009 at 21:19 | #1

    Hi there,
    I’ve received google alert about this post, and I feel that I should drop you an E-mail to say thank you. With regards to Chinese Knot trying to make a come back recently, I’d say it had never really faded out. 🙂

    And may I please share with you, that a wee person like me have been trying to make use of what I’ve learned about Chinese Knots – and I managed to turn a few knots into wires form so far (please, if you have time, do drop by my blog at http://decorshandmades.blogspot.com), I will continue on my research, and may be one day the Western countries will appreciate Chinese Knotting Arts even more.


  2. September 9th, 2009 at 21:44 | #2


    Come to think of it, I have quite a few knot items I bought in China, among them the wristband and wall decorations. I had never realized it was a Chinese specialty!

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