Wednesday, August 4, 2021

KNOT Knowing is the ULTIMATE LOVE – South Korea

Definition from Wikipedia that I’ve gotten on Korean Knot Tying or Maedeup as below :
Maedeup, or Korean knots, has evolved from a basic technique to produce textiles to skills such as knitting, knotting and weaving. It was a skill necessary for survival, rather than a creative art. In the past, maedeup was used to make tools for hunting, fishing, communication and records or even symbols of status.

Often we receive souvenirs from South Korea the likes of keychain, bookmarks or tassel where we usually put on a door knob. We usually buy them because its small, light and cheap but rarely ponder on the art of knot tying itself – this unique Korea art form. So I figure, why not I dig a little bit more and share with all of you guys so that the next round we visit Korea, we will understand and appreciate it more. We can even share the origin, history or meaning of this old art form.

This process of macramé (I just learnt a new word here) or art of knotting string in patterns for decoration to form a symmetrical pattern. And the Korean Maedeup is a skill of tying knots in various ways and types - Sul (tassel) that is attached to the lower part of a knot, Chrysanthemum Knot, Butterfly Knot, Bak Yuso (Korea traditional instrument), Norigae (Korea traditional ornaments worn by women) and many more. Very creative indeed.

There are 4 steps in making a maedeup. In the olden days these 4 steps were done by different knot artisans. However, due to this dying art and lacking of subject matter experts, hence nowadays these tasks are being done by 1 person.

1. Dyeing
- The thread is made of silk that has been washed and dyed. Aside from silk, ramie, mulberry, hemp and wool is also being used. Those days, dye are from natural pigment.

2. Dahoe (cord)
- Is a process of braiding by twisting several thread into cords depending on strength and thickness required.
3. Maedeup (knots)
- The traditional art form of knotting silken cords into decorative ornament or jewelry

4. Sul (tassels)
- Tassel is attach at the end of maedeup.

Know tying was made popular during the Joseon era where 38 type of traditional basic knots crafted from the Joseon Kingdom. Reason being, knots is used in events or for the purpose of beautifying and complementing and ornament such as necklaces, bracelets, earrings and pendants. Hence, it maedeup rose to its fame of which many dahoe and maedeup artisans and subject matter experts were being employed.

Some might also wonder the difference between Chinese (zhongguo jie), Japanese (kumihimo, mizuhiki & noshi) and Korean (maedeup) knot tying. Below are the distinctive differentiation between the 3 know tying style.

Chinese (zhongguo jie) – It is shaped as letters. Its tassel is shorter than the Korean knots
Japanese (kumihimo, mizuhiki & noshi)  Japanese knots are tied loosely
Korean (maedeup)  Maedeup are tighter and three dimensional. 

If you are interested to know more or to learn the art of making a meadeup, you can attend a session organized by Dong-Lim Knot Workshop. The session takes 40 minutes where you’ll get to see a demo by the meadeup master and learn to create one yourself. Worried not, you need not bring anything as tools and materials are all included.

Dong-Lim Knot Workshop
03056  10, Bukchon-ro 12-gil
Jongno-gu, Seoul 
How to get there
Board Subway Line 3, stop at Anguk Station and take Exit 2
Operation hour
Daily 10:00 - 18:00 
Close on Mondays, Lunar New Year & Chuseok
Option 1 : Bracele or Cellphone Charm : ₩7,000
Option 2 : Necklace : ₩10,000

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