Posted by: cassymuronaka | April 5, 2009

Korean knotting


So last week, Helen told me what we’re really doing is not Chinese knotting but Korean knotting, otherwise known as Maedap.

In the beginning, there was Chinese knotting, because, of course, in the beginning, the Chinese invented everything. The Koreans then apparently picked it up and spun off with their own variation.

According to Helen, many Chinese create their complicated knots while keeping everything pinned and anchored on cork-board. This makes Chinese knotting a very close cousin to macrame. However, others are more comfortable keeping their work up in their dancing hands, which is also the apparent preference of Korean knotters. Koreans also supposedly favor longer tassels and certain colors, although the Maedap I’ve seen is as colorful as Chinese knotting.

I have to admit that I like holding everything in my hands. It makes the work more portable, and I am all about killing time entertainingly while trapped in Costco lines, doctor offices and Bank of America telephone message mazes. That is why I keep a lifetime subscription to “Bejeweled” and “Tetris” on my Verizon cellphone.


Thursday’s session wound up the last class in the first series of knots. And because I want to permanently tie those knots in my aging brain, I am going to wait a few weeks before starting Session II, which includes my own personal Waterloo, the Button Knot. Stay tuned.




  1. Don’t know where you got the idea that Chinese knotting is preferentially done on a pin board, because I don’t believe it’s true. Teaching is often done on a pin board, and there are kits that involve pin boards that I have seen, but the books are full of instructions of how to tie everything in your hands.

  2. These look wonderful with clay pendants. I’d love to learn some knotting techniques myself!

  3. Thank you, Kim. Much appreciated.

  4. Hi Carol. A broad observation was being made in my class, but I certainly do have books on Chinese knotting that show both ways of working the knots.

  5. Cassy, STUNNING photos! Woo Hoo!

    Maybe its just me, but I can just FEEL myself running envious fingers across those silky smooth cords…mmmmm….cords…colors……

    Like it. Like it. Like it.

  6. Thanks Nancy!

  7. I am chinese knotting teacher in Czech republic and i researched about knotting history a lot. My chinese friends told me, that chinese knotting is the basic knotting in asian area and because china influenced the culture of neighboring and occupied countries, that is why is knotting known in Korea and Japan too. Then the knotting art developed on his own in each country and now korean maedeup or japanese hanamusubi is slightly different from chinese knotting, especially in coloring, adding tassels, knot combinations and how to use it, but is still very similiar and uses the same basic knots. Chinese knotting is traditionally in one colour, mostly red and one piece of cord.

    • Thanks for the info!

  8. Traditional Asian knotting had fairly distinct applications. Popularly, but not limited to:
    Chinese: wall hangings, tassels, ornaments
    Korean: dress pendants, curtain tie backs, tassels
    Japanese: mizuhiki, tea bags, armour (really! šŸ˜Ž

    In modern times, the materials (Korean/Japanese: braided cords, Chinese: satin cords), colours (Japanese: pastels and earth tones, Korean: red, yellow, green, blue, Chinese: bright primaries and metallic highlights, but mostly red), and tassel configurations (Japanese: extremely slender, Korean: multiple slender tassels, Chinese: singular more substantial tassel) are the most distinguishing features.

    That said, the most distinct thing between between Korean and Chinese knotting is invisible in the finished product. The traditionally trained Korean knotter ties her knots completely differently than a Chinese knotter. For example, see the double connection ( vs the dorae maedeup ( This is true for many of the main knots.

    • This is great to read, Carol. I love learning about what distinguishes the different kinds of knotting.

  9. Kudos for being determined to learn this art. You’ve done a beautiful job on the knotting (the pics are making me drool) and kept me laughing (with you – not at you) through the different posts you’ve made. I’m now encouraged to try to learn some form of knotting, as my some polymer pieces tend to look ‘lonely.’

    • Thank you so much, Lorri. I am glad that two years after this post was made, it’s still inspiring comments and great information that we all can use.

  10. Smooth knotting Cassy! I have the button knot down pat, but I would love to know the names of the big red and green one and the dark green one below it with the mauve and green bead?

    • Hi Jan, thanks for the compliment. The red and green knot is the Snake Knot. The dark green one is the Snake Knot.

  11. hi Cassy! isn’t it fun, but just yesterday, in a craft store in Switzerland, i held a kuhimino(?) board in my hands. it was roundish with slits to attach the cords. it looked so intriguing that i would love to learn this knotting method. i think i will have to do research who teaches it in my area.
    your beads and knotting are so beautiful!!
    ps i “met”you today on PCD, congratulations!

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