Chinese knot button exhibition

2010-02-22 11:05 BJT

 

The knot button is a distinctive characteristic of traditional Chinese apparel. Even today, it is still highly visible on garments like Qipao, or cheongsam. During the upcoming World Expo in Shanghai, an exhibition will be dedicated to this piece of intangible heritage. Now let's take a look at an ongoing display of knot buttons.

The knot button is a distinctive characteristic of traditional Chinese apparel.
The knot button is a distinctive characteristic of traditional Chinese apparel.

Part of China's apparel tradition, the knot buttons are enjoying renewed popularity. Recently, an exhibition dedicated to knot buttons was held in Beijing, which displayed over a hundred and fifty varieties. The show is scheduled for a world tour.

The history of knot buttons goes back to the prehistoric era when ropes were first used as a primitive form of belts. The earliest written records come from the Zhou Dynasty nearly three thousand years ago. In the 4th century BC, the knot button took its present form and remained largely unchanged until the Qing Dynasty.

The knot button is widely used in the traditional garments of China. They are usually made of cords woven from cotton. Certain intricate patterns and designs would require the use of metal wires. A change of style in the early Qing Dynasty in the second half of 17th century is considered a watershed in the use of knot buttons. Back then,jackets and cheongsam of the Manchurian ruling class began to entail wider use of knot buttons.

Knot buttons comes in a dazzling array of varieties, ranging from plain and simple straight knots to elaborate flowery knots. However, generally speaking, two major groups are distinguished on the basis of utility and ornament.

Recent years have seen a flourishing of knot buttons in contemporary clothing. Knot buttons of various shapes and sizes are being used on different types of garments.

Among the most popular designs are butterflies, rosebuds, and bias relief weaving. Used on different garments, knot buttons would convey the spirit and temperament of different eras.

Of all knot buttons, the tried and true handmade ones are best liked and admired. They represent the creativity and inspiration of their makers and are appreciated for their distinctive aesthetics. And the making of knot buttons has become a hobby for more and more urban dwellers in China, while modern elements are being fused into the ancient art.

The current exhibition in Beijing displays such innovative designs as the Great Wall, Shanghai Archways, as well as patterns like pandas, teapots and chairs.

The knot button is still highly visible on garments like Qipao, or cheongsam.
The knot button is still highly visible on garments 
like Qipao, or cheongsam.

Editor: Liu Fang | Source: CCTV.com