This introduction might sound like one of those trivial things people do when they have too much time on their hands. Did you ever take a moment and think about a simple thing like a knot? Sure, we get up every morning, put on clothes and shoes and tie the shoes’ knot without even thinking about it, or put a tie on knotting it without a second thought.
In this article we will take a bit of time to look at the art of tying a knot and how a basic knowledge of knot tying could make your daily life easier.
Scientists and historians estimate that the first knot was most likely tied using some sort of fiber or hair, which would have decayed, leaving no evidence to be found. There is, however an assumption that knots probably were tied before fire and the wheel was invented. Primitive cultures would have used knots to create traps to capture food or nets to catch fish with.
A piece of paper (dated 1794) was found with thirteen drawings of knots on it, which included English names written next to each drawing of the particular knot – this piece of paper is thought to have been copied from some English book. These drawings are seen as the first document containing information and instructions about knot tying.
Further evidence of the origin of knot tying was found in Russia (24 000 before Christ), Denmark and North Zealand – most of these knots were present in flexible twine. Ancient civilizations such as the Chinese, Celtic and Tamil art, used knot art for devotional and ornamental purposes.
Some seamanship manuals from the late seventeen and early eighteen hundreds contain the most accurate collection and instructions of knot tying. In 1944, C. W. Ashley published a book which is seen as the knot bible. He collected information over a period of 11 years to compile the book which explains how to tie over 2000 knots.
Regardless of the history and documentation of knot tying, it is a practice which was learned by youngsters from their elders and passed on through time from generation to generation. I am sure you can still remember how your parents taught you to tie your shoes and how boys learn from their parents to put on a tie..
I think we all have a picture in our minds of a gray bearded sailor with rough hands, sitting outside a fisher’s hut tying knots in a net. Or a mountain climber hanging from a cliff with just a piece of rope to support his weight.
The reality is however that we might be using knots in our daily routine without even thinking about it. At most, if you know how to tie a proper knot, it might be something that could save your own or a friends’ life one day. It is a skill which all children should learn and not just the girl and boy scouts.
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