The art of knotting dates back to pre-historic times. The oldest archaeological evidence of the art is traced back to 100,000 year old needles made of bone used for sewing and bodkins that are used to untie knots. The earliest Chinese records for knots were dated back to the Warring State era - 481-421 BCE. The evidence was preserved on bronze vessels, carvings and silk hangings.
In Asia this art is called Chinese Knotting and else where it is called Decorative Knotting. These knots are decorative and can be simple while some are rather elaborate.
Knots generally have meanings. The can mean reunion, friendliness, warmth, marriage, luck, harmony or love. They represent the endless circle of a happy life. They are used to express beauty, happiness, good wishes for life, prosperity, absence of evil, love and adornment.
The art of knotting is divided into 2 categories:
1) Hanging Knots - usually attached to a pendant or landyard - suspended from a ceiling or wall hanging.
2) Ancillary Knots - these are used as decorative purposes as part of clothing adornments - buttons, tassels, jade pendants, buckles, teapot or lid ties.
The one major rule of knotting is all knots must be tied using only one thread. They will also have a double layered and symmetrical appearance on the front and back. Every basic knot is named after their inner meaning or outer form. There are 11 basic types of knot work. The more complex ones are usually a combination or repetition of basic knots. Basic material is usually silk threads or cords but more readily available and inexpensive nylon cords are common. Colors range from red, gold, yellow, green, blue. The colors are used to symbolize just as much as the shapes of the knots contain cultural meaning.
The knot most commonly used present day is the Reef Knot or also known as a Flat Knot or Portuguese knot. This is the most common knot used to attach the lid of a teapot to the handle. It keeps the lid from wandering too far away from the teapot - hence potentially breaking it. It can also act as a color coder for teas to the teapot. The knot can also help insulate the finger from the hot teapot making it easier to pour while maintaining a secure lid. Of course the the important element of charm and decor that never eludes the eye.
Below is a step by step method to making a Flat knot. We start with a 28.5 inches cord - color to your preference.