Chinese Knotting Bibliography

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Ornamental Knots

[bookcover] The Art of Chinese and Western Knotting
ISBN 962-15-0234-9
Printed and published in Hong Kong, the text is in both English and Chinese, although all of the publishing info is in Chinese. Another basic book, but with some fairly interesting 3D projects including a giraffe. 8)
Bilingual Chinese and English.
[bookcover] Chinese Knotting
Lydia Chen
Published by Echo Craft Books
Echo Communications
5-2, Pa Teh Road, Sec. 4, Lane 72, Alley 16, Taipei, Taiwan, ROC, Tel: (02) 7631452-5
North and South American Distributor: Charles E. Tuttle Co, Post Office Drawer F, Rutland, Vermont, USA, 05701, Tel: (802) 773-8930
Taiwan, ROC, 1981
ISBN 0-8048-1389-2
A beginner's book with both individual knot instructions as well as assembly ideas.
Chinese and English versions available.
Buy this book from Chapters.CA,, Barnes & Noble,,, Amazon.DE.
Note: it looks like this book is being reprinted (odd since the black version doesn't seem to have gone out of print), but since May 2003, you can get this hot pink version (still in hardcover according to Amazon, but in softcover in July vs May according to Barnes & Noble using the same ISBN. All the cover images are from CK1):
Buy this book from Chapters.CA,, Barnes & Noble,,
[bookcover] Chinese Knotting 2
(sequel to the above book, I'm just going to assume that all the contact info (at least in Taiwan) is the same)
ISBN 957-588-000-5
Mostly a project/demonstration type book with examples ranging from key chains to inspiration for stenciling. There are only a few new knots including some more woven type knots. Being able to actually read the text would be nice, but is by no means necessary in order to make good use of the book.
In Chinese.
[bookcover] Fun with Chinese Knotting: Making Your Own Fashion Accessories and Accents
Also published by Tuttle, the contact information should be the same.
ISBN-10: 0804836787
ISBN-13: 978-0804836784
Published mid-2007.
A translation of Chinese Knotting 2, the contents are identical down to the illustrations ('80's fashions!). A section about variations on embellishing the knots is made much clearer and more useful when you can read the text.
Tuttle offers a 30% discount for web-shoppers.
In English.
Chapters.CA,, Barnes & Noble,,
[bookcover] Chinese Knotting 3 (++)
(third in the series)
ISBN 957-588-459-0
If the last book didn't have enough new knots, this book more than makes up for it. Ms. Chen has clearly spent a lot of time categorizing and pondering the knots and how the "core" knots might be varied to make new ones. In this volume she shows us the wonderful results with 16 variations of the flower knot alone. The book begins with what looks like the Chinese version of the history of Chinese knotting that was published in The History and Science of Knots and ends with some examples of the new knots in use in a variety of materials.
In Chinese.
The Complete Book of Chinese Knotting: A Compendium of Techniques and Variations
ISBN-10: 0804836795
ISBN-13: 978-0804836791
This is the English translation of Chinese Knotting 3. This book takes the basic 11 knots and expands them to 14 (the constellation knot!) and then explores the possible variations of them. There are 56 new knots according to the promotional blurb on the back of the book. The translation is flawed. Get it anyways. The original Chinese version is out of print and this new version is a heck of a lot easier to get and the material contained within is still groundbreaking and completely inspiring if you've not seen it before.

Remember: outer loop is, in fact, inner loop, and compound looks like it should be complex instead

A longer review.
In English.
[bookcover] The Bonding of the Chinese Knot
Lydia Hsia-Sheng Chen (trans. Christopher M. Fruean)
ISBN 957-9319-03-0
I can't suss out any of the publication info that I haven't presented above, however, there is a forward by the director of the National Palace Museum (Taiwan) where I bought the book, and artworks that are displayed at the Museum are referenced in the book...
This is a tri-lingual book (Chinese, English, and Japanese. I'm sure the Japanese translator's name is properly given credit, but I can't read it) with no instruction in it, just designs and inspirations. As a result of most of the inspirations being paintings, the works are fairly uniformly flat, not unlike quilling pieces.
[bookcover] Classical Chinese Knotting
Writer/Publisher: Chiou, Young-Chang
No. 83 San Min Road, Tai-Chung City, Taiwan, 400, ROC, Tel: 04-2225436
ROC, 1983
An especially clear and well illustrated book with slightly more complicated projects than the other introductory books. It also seems to be(?)/have a catalog in the back for "Clever Arts" which will sell you all the supplies for all the projects in the book, in pre-packaged packets, no less 8). The Clever Arts contact info has the same phone number as the writer/publisher, so I'd guess that it has the same address as well, although there is a small map in the book (in case you're in town 8).
In Chinese.
[bookcover] Classical Oriental Knotting II
(Sequel with slight title change to the Classical Chinese Knotting book. There is also a survey in this book asking what you want to see in a third book that they have planned).
This installment focuses more on the two-sided woven knots, with many exercises for the reader.
In Chinese.
[bookcover] The Book of Decorative Knots
Peter Owen
For a book with such nice clear illustrations it is remarkably hard to follow (for me, at least). I think that this is because the illustrator shows both ends of the string being worked into the knot at the same time.
In English.
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[bookcover] The Book of Ornamental Knots
John J. Hensel
Published by Cornell Maritime Press
Centreville, Maryland 21617
USA, 1973, 1990
ISBN 0-87033-410-7
A heavily macrame flavoured book consisting almost entirely of flat knots.
In English.
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[bookcover] Chinese Knotting Arts (++)
ISBN 957-8507-02-X
I first saw this book over 20 years ago in Taiwan when I was first introduced to the art. At that time I was only interested in buying one book (how times have changed! 8) and I judged the best one to be Classical Chinese Knotting. So when I saw this one recently I snapped it up for nostalgia's sake. It is a basic knot book that shades into some fairly involved projects (eg. really big mystic knots). The book has not been updated in any way, so you can see the models with their fashionable 20 years ago clothing and hair.
In Chinese.
[bookcover] Chinese Knotting: Introduction (++)
ISBN 7-5341-1536-1
About one knot per project is covered, but the projects are very nice and if you don't mind not having your hands held it is a pretty book. Despite the title, however, you definitely wouldn't want to make this your introduction to Chinese knotting without a healthy dose of hubris and a very independent spirit.
In Chinese.
[bookcover] Chinese Knotting: A Next Step (++)
ISBN 7-5341-1564-7
Like the other book in this series, this book is light on the instructions but good for inspiration. While the title indicates that this is a more advanced step in Chinese knotting, the knots shown are probably easier, although there are fewer instructions, and the projects are not much simpler.
In Chinese.
[bookcover] The Complete Book of Decorative Knots
Geoffrey Budworth
Sequel to The Complete Book of Knots, this book also follows the same general design of clear line drawing illustrations and the occasional photo. The highlights include some nifty globe knots and general extensible instructions on turks head knots.
In English.
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[bookcover] DIY 1
ISBN 957-779-027-5
Labelled DIY which I take to mean "Do It Yourself", this line of short books is clearly illustrated with photographs in most cases and the occasional line drawing. As with the Clever Arts Classical books, these books contain (brief) parts that are obviously catalogs for a Chinese knotting supplies vendor.
The highlight of book one is the variations on flower knot embellishments.
In Chinese.
[bookcover] DIY 2
ISBN 957-779-030-5
Book two is mostly illustrated by line drawings versus photographs and is composed of some fairly standard pendant patterns that you will also find in other basic books.
In Chinese.
Book three is about gift wrapping so I don't have a copy.
In Chinese.
[bookcover] DIY 4
ISBN 957-779-040-2
The highlights of book four are the instructions and embellishment variations on the woven knot, plus some snazzy dragon and phoenix patterns.
In Chinese.
[bookcover] DIY 6
ISBN 957-98304-4-4
After book four, this line of books changes slightly. Of course, the fact that I purchased them in San Francisco Chinatown versus Taiwan might have something to do with it (although they are still in Chinese). In any case, the style is obviously the same, some of the instructions are repeated and the previous books are advertised inside, but the DIY labelling is gone from the cover. The highlights of book six are more cool variations on the woven knot, plus a simple but effective "bezel set my bead in string" technique (which you can see on the cover illustration).
In Chinese.
[bookcover] DIY 10 (++)
ISBN 957-98304-2-0
Labelled #1 in a few places and #10 in others, I am going with 10. This volume mostly illustrates the use of braiding and simple knotting for creating bracelets, belts and necklaces.
In Chinese.
[bookcover] DIY 12 (++)
ISBN 957-779-087-9
Mostly a basic knot book (although can it be called that without the double-connection or double coin knots?) with the first instance of instructions for a few of the bao knots actually illustrated.
In Chinese.
[bookcover] DIY 16
ISBN 957-98167-8-6
Sometime after the DIY was dropped, they added the "China's Kont" [sic] label (at least both book 16 and 17 have this label). This installment is mostly sculptural pieces (animals and plants, but with a Chinese twist) that you often found in old macrame booklets. The highlight for me is the photo (no instructions!) of a very interesting dragon.
In Chinese.
[bookcover] DIY 17
ISBN 957-98167-6-X
This installment is also mostly sculptural pieces. The designs are more elaborate than those in book 16, so line drawing patterns have replaced the step by step photo instructions.
In Chinese.
[bookcover] DIY 20: Test Book (??) (++)
ISBN 957-779-090-9
On the larger side of the DIY series, but numbered (seemingly) in sequence with the small ones, this installment has no instructions. It is a catalog of individual knots (and a few tassel styles). The back clearly has some forms to fill out and contact info for a CHCA (an English acronym, but only Chinese characters to tell us what it all means). I surmise it to be either a lesson or a test plan for mastery of Chinese knotting (and you'd definately be a Master if you could do all the listed knots without instructions!).
In Chinese.
[bookcover] DIY 21: China's Kont & Flowers (sic) (++)
ISBN 957-779-102-6
On the larger side of the DIY series, but numbered (seemingly) in sequence with the small ones, this installment is all about flowers (ok, there's a corn on the cob and some gourds in the back, but the instructions are all about flowers). The cover image pretty much shows the variety of flowers that will be shown in the book.
In Chinese.
[bookcover] DIY 23 (++)
ISBN 957-8207-05-0
Covering a standard complement of beginner's knots used in "traditional" projects, there is nothing particularly distinguished or noteworthy about this volume.
In Chinese.
[bookcover] DIY 28 (++)
ISBN 957-8207-13-1
The instructions are all about flowers. A number of half-hitched (like you use to make friendship bracelets) petals and leaves are covered in addition to a mat-style flower and a crocheted flower.
In Chinese.
[bookcover] DIY 51: China's knot & precious stones (++)
ISBN 957-8207-33-6
On the larger side of the DIY series, but numbered (seemingly) in sequence with the small ones, this installment is mostly for the inspiration. There are lots of pretty pictures, and a handful of basic knot instructions in the back (no project instructions). As may be deduced from the title and cover image, the works mainly feature semi-precious beads and pendants.
In Chinese.
[bookcover] DIY 65: Chinese knots and beads (++)
ISBN 957-8207-50-6
There were 2 distinct covers for this book on the shelf when I was shopping. The contents were identical, except one had a picture of the author(?) and the other didn't. I picked the one that I felt had the better print quality/image reproduction which as it turns out was not the one with the author picture in it. At this point I no longer remember if it was a different DIY number (I believe the bead series is numbered independently from the general handcraft series) or if it was a different publisher altogether.
In any case, there are some knot instructions here, but it is not a basic knot book. Most of the instruction space is spent on finishing details: how to hide the ends, finish your knot so that it can serve as an element in a beaded work. There is also some thread path stuff, but it is not a basic bead instruction book either.
In Chinese.
[bookcover] DIY 66 (++)
ISBN 957-8207-48-4
An unusual array of projects are covered including a dragon boat, some half-hitched sculptural projects, some ball covering knots and a number of Xmas wall-hangings.
In Chinese.
[bookcover] DIY Deluxe 1 (++)
ISBN 957-779-072-0
I think of it as DIY Deluxe, but haven't expended the energy to actually translate the title or to get a translation. It is clearly related to the DIY series since several volumes are advertised in the dust-cover, although the book is much larger than the standard DIY series books. Many intriguing ideas are illustrated without instruction. The instructions begin with a few circular mats then moves on to the simple woven knot. The basic rectancular woven knot is soon modified into many fanciful shapes including hexagonal, triangular, and tear-drop. The end of the book includes many project illustrations with sketchy instructions for a few of them, including teapots, lanterns, and slippers.
In Chinese.
[bookcover] DIY Deluxe 2 (++)
ISBN 957-779-079-8
Many new knot variations involving interlacing two knots and "growing" standard knots by expanding a finished knot and weaving a new stable configuration.
In Chinese.
[bookcover] DIY Deluxe 3 (++)
ISBN 957-779-100-X
The instructions begin with a few more interlaced knots, then moves on to what appears to be basically a free form method of tying knots into any desired frame shape. The examples given are eye, heart, triangular and square shapes. The book ends with vague instructions for some pendant projects, and inspirational illustrations of elaborate knotted sculptures including lobsters, pagodas and windmills.
In Chinese.
[bookcover] Hanamusubi: Traditional Japanese Flower-Knots
ISBN 4-7636-2080-0
Japanese design sensibilities being what they are, the knots described in this book tend to be very simple single knot designs (for tying tea sacks) with a few knot chains for wall hangings and as part of a monk's costume.
Bilingual Japanese and English.
[bookcover] Hanamusubi Hand (Craft ?) (++)
Aiko Matsuda
ISBN 4-8170-8039-6
A basic book with instructions for knots and many small projects: pendants, keychains, small ornaments.
In Japanese.
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[bookcover] Hanamusubi NHK (++)
Shoen Hashida
ISBN 4-14-031025-1
A basic book with instructions for knots and a few small projects.
NHK is a television station in Japan. A friend visiting Japan mentioned that news magazines and variety shows didn't seem to do a number of stories during their time on the air. Instead they focused on one topic for half an hour and while he was there, he saw a show about decorative knotting. This is probably the book that goes with that show. If someone has this (or similar 8) on tape, I would very much like a copy.
In Japanese.
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[bookcover] Hemp Jewelry
One of the nicer basic hemp booklets. Mostly chokers, necklaces and bracelets.
In English.
Buy this book from, Barnes & Noble,
[bookcover] Hemp Masters: Ancient Hippie Secrets for Knotting Hip Hemp Jewelry
Matt Lunger
ISBN 0943604575
A neat book about hemp jewelry. The "Phish bone" knot is worth the price of the book alone.
In English.
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[bookcover] Introducing Traditional Chinese Knotting
Rio Lee
ISBN 1058960-7 (?)
A small, just above pamphlet, sized book that nonetheless has some very keen things in it like how to make a double or triple sized button knot. A convenient size for carrying around in case you need occasional reminders of the basic knots. I have found it in just about any Chinatown that I've visited that has any kind of bookstore. There is pretty much no English except for the book title (which is why I can't extract more publishing info ... 8(
In Chinese.
[bookcover] Knots and Braids
Etsuko Matsushita
ISBN 4-8377-0596-0
A gorgeous book that demonstrates some of the possibilities when you combine kumihimo and knotting. When the type of string is wonderfully textured, even the simplest knots seem more elaborate. It is a very dangerous book that is leading me down a long path that includes raw silk and fibre dyes.
In Japanese.
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[bookcover] Knots: Useful & Ornamental (++)
George Russel Shaw
ISBN 0-517-460009
Published in 1924, this volume is packed with hand-drawn illustrations. It covers a generic collection of useful knots and then wanders into interesting territory via macrame and tatting. The illustrations are quite clear with the added benefit of variations on how to tie the knots. Other noteworthy features include descriptions of how to tie larger (more petals/ears) variations of basic knots and a few knots I don't remember seeing elsewhere.
In English.
[bookcover] Knotted String Methods (++)
ISBN 7-5359-2004-7
With coverage of most of the basic knots in a small and cheap package, this is a good one to carry around if you need the occasional reminder while working on a project.
In Chinese.
[bookcover] Traditional Korean Knot (++)
There's no bar code or ISBN info that I could find anywhere in the book, but there is some publishing information glued into the book with an extra piece of paper:
Publisher: Hollym International Corp., 18 Donald Place, Elizabeth, NJ 07208.
There are also some dates which I guess to be printing dates: June 15, 1981 and February 20, 1989.
I've been looking for Maedup books for years without any luck until I chanced upon this book being offered for sale, used at a weavers show, of all things. I wanted to jump up and down squealing like a teenager, but restrained myself and simply snatched up the book and purchased it before someone else could. 8)
The instructions cover only the most basic knots with one exception, although some of the knots shown are fairly advanced. An interesting notation method is introduced for mapping projects, but the real prize is the number of tassel variations as well as the demonstration of Korean aesthetics in colour, cord type, and project design.
In Korean.
[bookcover] Satin Macrame (++)
ISBN 962-231-846-0
A small handful of Chinese knots are introduced and used, but the projects mostly consist of macrame done in satin cord, producing a very different look than the usual hemp.
In Chinese.
[bookcover] The Treasure Knot
ISBN 957-8951-58-2
A gorgeous book that takes/(introduces ?) the treasure (bao) knot and shows a myriad of extensions and variations. Instructions are contained in an inserted leaflet with a few line drawings and some extremely terse text.
See the link for an extended review of "The Treasure Knot" book.
In Chinese.
[bookcover] Zhongguo Jie Yi (++)
ISBN 7-5019-2773-1
With instructions for only 5 knots, this book is mostly a project/idea book. There is some small amount of sequencing for the projects (a small series of photos of various projects under construction), so unless you know what you are doing for the most part, this will not be much help.
There's a website listed in the front for more info.
In Chinese.
[bookcover] Zhongguo Jie (++)
ISBN 7-5019-2974-2
With images (including the cover) and instructions (finishing and some tassel details, some project sketches) taken directly from Classical Oriental Knotting II, is it a reprint (although, not of the entire contents)? Is it and update? Is it an unabashed case of plagiarism? Is it the best you can do if COKII is out of print? There are a few other images that I recognize from other books I have, and a few that I didn't when I bought it, but then maybe everything's all properly licensed and paid for...
There's a website listed in the back for more info.
In Chinese.

General Knots

The following books are all in English.
[bookcover] The Ashley Book of Knots (++)
Clifford W. Ashley
Published by Doubleday
666 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY, 10103
USA, 1944
ISBN 0-385-04025-3
A huge tome of knots and just about anything else you can do with string. Generally considered to be the definitive knot reference book
Buy this book from Chapters.CA,, Barnes & Noble,,, Amazon.DE, Amazon.FR.
[bookcover] The Complete Book of Knots
Geoffrey Budworth
Clearly illustrated with line drawings of the process and photos of the results, this book is a collection of common practical knots with little historical snippets thrown in.
There is also a sequel dealing with decorative knots.
Buy this book from Chapters.CA,, Barnes & Noble,,, Amazon.DE, Amazon.FR.
[bookcover] The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Knots and Ropework (++)
Geoffrey Budworth
ISBN 1-55267-986-1 (in Canada)
ISBN 1859679110
Illustrated with photos of the process and photos of the results, this book is a collection of common practical knots with little historical snippets thrown in.
Not as complete as either Ashley or Graumont & Hensel, but with a lot of new knots (developed in the last 2-3 decades, some for use with synthetic materials).
Buy this book from Chapters.CA,, Barnes & Noble,,, Amazon.FR.
[bookcover] The Morrow Guide to Knots (++)
by Mario Bigon and Guido Regazzoni
Translated from the Italian by Maria Piotrowska
Published by William Morrow and Company, Inc
105 Madison Avenue, New York, NY, 10016
USA, 1982
ISBN 0-688-01226-4 (pbk)
ISBN 0-688-01225-6
The official subtitle is "for sailing, fishing, camping, climbing" but it also has a small section for decorative knots and is nicely illustrated with photos of color coded rope.
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[bookcover] This is The Colour Book of Knots 2e (++)
Floris Hin
Published by Adlard Coles Nautical
35 Bedford Row, London WC1R 4JH
Switzerland, 1991
ISBN 0-7136-3391-3
An interesting book with big bright colour coded examples such that the knots are easy to see and duplication fairly simple.
Buy this book from !ndigo,,
Chapman's Nautical Guides: Knots
by Brion Toss, illustrations by Gae Pilon
Published by William Morrow and Company, Inc
105 Madison Avenue, New York, NY, 10016
USA, 1990
ISBN 0-688-09415-5
A nicely illustrated book with a very clearly defined scope.
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[bookcover] Encyclopedia of Knots and Fancy Ropework (++)
John J. Hensel and Raoul Graumont
Like Ashley, this is a massive cataloguing of knots, and also like Ashley it is light on the instructions.
Buy this book from Chapters.CA,, Barnes & Noble,,, Amazon.FR.
[bookcover] History of Science and Knots - Series on Knots and Everything Volume 11
JC Turner and P van de Griend, editors
Combining real knot tying, knot theory and history, this is an interesting collection of essays including the "History of Chinese Knotting" by Lydia Chen.
Buy this book from Chapters.CA,, Barnes & Noble, (paperback), (hardcover), (paperback), (hardcover), Amazon.DE, directly from the publisher (World Scientific Publishing Company).


Creation Date: Mon Aug 3 21:47:54 PDT 1998
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