Cultural Treasures of China – Chinese Knotting

Chinese Knotting (中国结 Zhōngguó jié) is one of the most common folk-arts still seen in China, although most knots are now mass-produced in factories! They are usually made in red paracord, since red is the most auspicious colour in China.  Chinese knots are made from a single length of cord with the two ends entering at the top and exiting at the bottom of the knot (if you see a tassel, that’s added separately).

The date of knotting’s origin is unknown. Historians speculate that knots may have been used as a way to remember things – the contents of a jar, for example – before writing was invented. The earliest examples in China are from silk paintings and tomb carvings from the Western Han Dynasty (206BC-6AD).

Knotting had become a folk art by the Tang Dynasty (618-904) and had become very popular even at court by the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Knots were not only practical but also used as decoration, for example, on a sword hilt, and as clothes fastenings.

There are many different types of knots, but the Panchang Knot (盘长结 Pán cháng jié) is considered the quintessential Chinese knot, and is particularly auspicious if made with 8 loops and 8 ‘ears’.

Interested in traditional Chinese culture? Join us on November 18th to learn papercutting and how to paint a Chinese painting using traditional techniques. All materials, transportation to our culture center in Tongzhou and a dumpling dinner afterwards are all included!

We look forward to seeing you here!

The Cultural Treasures of China blog is dedicated to introducing the cultural heritage of China. Be sure to check back often for our latest posts and learn about all the most interesting and exciting aspects of Chinese culture! If you would like us to write about a particular topic you’re interested in, or had any questions about the article, please feel to contact us at [email protected] We’d love to hear from you!

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