Author Topic: About 2 lesser knots : Franciscan's & Capuchin's  (Read 19598 times)


  • Exp. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 181
  • G'day to you from France
About 2 lesser knots : Franciscan's & Capuchin's
« on: August 27, 2005, 05:57:14 PM »
About lesser knots : Franciscan's and Capuchin's ( alleged)
Reader beware :  irate rambling on too many mistakes. Sorry if my English is not quite up to the task.

The most compounded error in designation is the one that describe the so-called "Franciscan's knot " ( n½ud de Franciscain in French) as an alleged French monks knot
The second type of mistake is presenting indifferenly 2 different knots under the name of Franciscan’s knot ( the other being a so-called Capushin knot ! " n½ud de Capucin " in French).

Up to now I only found 1 book and 2 web sites with the correct information.  
I do not know what the contamination chain is but there it is.
Just like with cancer, one cell is badly « copied » and become autonomous : tumor growth is launched.

I think that observing a rule I was taught in another domain of having at the very least 2 independent (from each other ; because 10 power 36 sources linked between them are in fact only one source) sources is the minimum in searching for something, be it knot or other.

Proof is better than discussion.
So I invite you to have a look at :
(see album titled franciscan versus capuchin)

First two pics are of the " true " knots. If " true " can apply!

Paintings and sculptures ( quite independent from knots publishing wether book or web, you will agree. And there are more than 2 different ones) show the " real " franciscan's knot, if such a thing exist !
Have seen real life Capuchin with simple overhand knot instead. And some friars dispensed with them altogeter. Symbols are not anymore what once they were it seems.
Even went as far as to contact Franciscans to clarify the point ! ! ( Many have abandonned the " rope ")

The Franciscans are not a monastic order, but a mendicant apostolic order founded in the late Middle Ages.
They are Friars not monks.
It was the decision of St Francis of Assise. They are more precisely " lesser friars " as was the decision of the Founder to examplify humility, even in their title they were to be the LESSER of all, that is the humblest.

Not a French order since St Francis was an Italian and founded his order in his country, in 1208 ( only verbally accepted by Pope in 1210). By right it is an Italian order !
St Francis of Assisi real name was Jean Bernardone ( John Bernardone) but his father was a great admirer of France so he was dubbed " Francesco "
Even if there are French branches of this Order of Lesser Friars, they are certainly not French monks.

Third :
Capuchin do not use a knot different from the Franciscan Friars.

Fourth :
On my album you will see there is only one knot in use that can eventually be call « franciscan's knot »
Great care should be taken in naming a knot.
Example : When you name a knot " square knot " it is an " indifferent " descriptive naming, but as soon as you call it " reef knot " then you assign to it a very " precise and narrowed " environment. Same thing with the so called " surgeon's knot ". Brrrrr Grrrrr ! And same with Franciscan and Capuchin's knots.

Fith :
One can see under the Franciscan's knot designation either one of the 2 knots and vice versa !

- the so-called Franciscan's knot is just ABOK#517
- the so-called Capuchin's knot is ABOK#535, badly made without the "in between " under tuck. ( see pictures on my album)

- - - - - - - -
More details  for our avid and curious readers . Yes I know curiosity killed the cat ! May be boredom will do you ?
Franciscans  were also called " les Cordeliers " that is litteraly " those with the rope or girdle "
They  wear a brown robe with a rope as belt ( hence the " cordelier " appellation). It was the garnements of the poors of the time
On the rope , 3 knots symbolizing : humility/obedience, poverty, chastity.
Would not dare to suggest that they had to have knots so as not to forget.

Too make it very short therefore imprecise :
There are 3 branches in the Franciscans
- the franciscans proper ( comprising 3 orders : the franciscans, The Clarisses, they live in convents,the seculars or lay members) Anyone come up with a Clarisse knot ! or     with a Lay knot !
- the capuchins
- - the conventuals ( any Convent Knot ?)

The Capuchin are a Roman Catholic religious Order of friars (brothers). Some of the brothers are priests and some are lay men.
The Capuchins, whose origins date from 1525, began as a reform Order of the Franciscans.
Capuchin do not use a knot different from the Franciscan Friars

Anecdoticaly : it is to St Francis that we are indebted for " la creche de Noel " ( Christ child's crib), since he made the very first recorded one in 1223 in the hamlet of Greccio
- - - - - - -- - -
Willian of OCKHAM ( should never forget  this man's razor !)
Padre PIO of many alleged miraculous deeds.
- - - - - - - - - - -
Some call the alleged Capuchin Knot the monkey-tail knot ( le n½ud de queue de singe).

There is in fact a monkey named in French : singe Capucin ( Cebus Appela or Sajou brun ) for you English speaking that is the Capuchin Monkey or Sapajou.
From inexisting Capuchin MONK to existing Capuchin MONKey the saltation is possible to the imaginative ones.

End of rambling.
Thank you for asking ! Yes !  I am feeling better after venting my feelings. Very therapeutic.
You ? feeling worse ! Oh ! too bad, should not have read it all
Nautile / Charles

PS To be continued : watch out for our next issue ! Revelations on the scandal of some knots !
« Last Edit: August 27, 2005, 05:58:19 PM by nautile »


  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 433
  • knopen . ismijnhobby . nl
    • Willeke's knotted Ideas
Re: About 2 lesser knots : Franciscan's & Capuchin
« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2005, 08:55:31 PM »
Having met fransiscan brothers when already interrested in knots I asked one how the knot was made. It is indeed the triple overhand, # 517.
As far as I am told full brothers and sisters in the order do wear a rope with 3 knots, one for each of the vows they made. Lay brothers and sister have only made 2 vows and wear a rope with 2 knots. (Or maybe even one.) Those brothers that do not wear a rope often wear a fransiscan cross on a string round their neck, and in this string will be the knots, again as many as the vows taken. (The cross is T shaped rather than cross shaped.)
I am not as sure about the capuchin monks, (yes they do use the name monk as well as brother,) the ones I met were a lot less traditional than the fransiscans I met.

"Never underestimate what a simple person can do with clever tools,
nor what a clever person can do with simple tools." - Ian Fieggen

Writer of A booklet on lanyards, available from IGKT supplies.


  • Exp. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 111
Re: About 2 lesser knots : Franciscan's & Capuchin
« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2005, 12:07:34 AM »
About lesser knots : Franciscan's and Capuchin's ( alleged)
Reader beware :  irate rambling on too many mistakes. ...
PS To be continued : watch out for our next issue ! Revelations on the scandal of some knots !

I for one welcome such revelations, like a fresh breeze to clean out stale thinking.
Indeed, the main way to make knots books it seems to me has been to find some other
books and to simply copy them.  No knot knowledge required!  Bonus if you can claim
some nautical title!!  Image creation unnecessary:  just use a computer to scan in the
images from the other books (no permissions needed, and claim copyright)!!!
--a quote from Pieter van de Griend, whose writings stand in stark contrast to this:

Foremost deduction seems to be that there is a lot of simply dumb
propagation of nonsense.  Knot tyers (and especially knot authors!) dumbly
propagate initial falsehoods sufficiently often to establish them as truths.
Why?  What comes into the system (i.e. books) is what gets propagated.
A Letter to Lester

And so it goes.  One can do a little better in dealing with knots information
limited to an area of expertise, such as caving.  Although in those cases,
it is often surprising to see how parochial the knot knowledge is.  (E.g., arborists
insist on calling a Strangle Noose--used to hitch to carabiners for their personal
lanyards--a "Fisherman's knot".  Their apparent rationale is that the "Double
Fisherman's Knot" is a composed of two such Strangle components, ergo the
noose must be just a (single) "Fisherman's".  No matter that this knot name
is as old as the trees and denoting an end-to-end knot, it would seem!
The misnomer was in a popular book, and so it goes.

So, yes, do enlighten us further with more installments.



  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 334
  • IGKT Member since 1984 - IGKT Librarian
Re: About 2 lesser knots : Franciscan's & Capuchin
« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2005, 01:29:21 AM »
He who steps into minefield should tread carefully!

The arguement about names of knots will go on forever so, for what it is worth, my philosphy is that NO knot names are WRONG - just different.
Just as an example, the two knots you mention are, to me, with a long nautical background (1) a Multiple Overhand Knot and (2) a Heaving Line Knot.  Notice I say 'a' not 'the'.
On the subject of errors in publications and their proliferation - This has been going on since Tom Bowlings 'The Knot Book', to my knowlegde and most of the errors stem from the engraving mistakes in the plates the author or publisher used from a French tombe, which as yet I have been unable to trace.  The exact same drawings appear in no less than 4 subsequent publications.
Further to this - please do not blame all the mistakes on the authors - publishers are money makers and if a photograph in the proof is printed in reverse or a line of text is missing it might cost too much to have it rectified -
so just tread carefully and "Dont believe EVERYTHING you read"



  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 92
Re: About 2 lesser knots : Franciscan's & Capuchin
« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2005, 02:27:47 AM »
Nautile / Charles,

Thank you for your post on the Franciscan and Capuchin knots. Super stuff! In addition, thank you for including the album of statues, painters and closeups to support your ideas. Great stuff!

I would love to see a reference for the paintings and statues so that I could find out more information about them. However, I am not such a ingrate or such a pain-in-the-err-neck that I would ask you for this!

I anxiously await your next publication on Knot Scandals.



  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3903
Re: About 2 lesser knots : Franciscan's & Capuchin
« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2005, 09:22:42 AM »
On the propagation of errors, etc., note that I opened a 1-post thread (3/16)
here entitled "Knot Myths", in which I cited how the misrepresentation
of a climbing accident has rippled in broader reaches.  (It was the false
assertion that Lynn Hill didn't complete the tying of a Fig.8 loopknot,
and so upon leaning back dependent upon that eye holding, fell (though
survived to become a legend in her own time!):  in fact, she simply didn't
tie ANY knot (and would have done the Bowline).  Some efforts were made
to cast the Fig.8 as inferior to a Bwl because of the alleged incident's showing
the risk of incomplete tying.)

... hav[e] at the very least 2 independent sources ...

Though having one good source could suffice.  One example comes to mind:
most knots books propagate the assertion that the Stevedore Knot is so named
on account of its use by stevedores (has that sound of plausibility, no?);
yet clear as day (-: Cyrus Day's Art of Knotting & Splicing makes a
point-blank, direct contradiction of this, citing the origin of the name being some
publication by the Stevedore rope company.  To my mind, his assertion has the
markings of actual research & first-hand knowledge, while the others sound like
rationalizations created to hold ink.  There are certainly more of the latter,
which is rather surprising, for Day's work is hardly obscure--indeed, it's regarded
generally as one of the best knots books.

As for knot names, I'm of the side who hope to bring some order to them,
and to sort out the nonsense--and certainly calling that noose a "Fisherman's
knot" is confounding nonsense.  One can't hope to have much of a discussion
about knots when everything is so confused in reference!  Arguments going
on forever?  --why, is there no skill or honest interest in the truth?!  Those
who, e.g., claim that stevedores actually used the knot need to show how they
come to this assertion (and copying it from some book will not show but that
they haven't checked).  That some odd names might result from localization of the
knotting endeavor is interesting and worth at least preserving in a history.  But in
this age of global communications and awareness, it really should be possible
to arrest misnomers arising from too narrow a view of the knotting world.
You know, "to promote the art, craft, & science of knotting"--our charter.


  • Exp. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 181
  • G'day to you from France
Re: About 2 lesser knots : Franciscan's & Capuchin
« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2005, 03:48:28 PM »
Meaning of acronym ONF : Opinion (mine) Not Fact

To all :

Thanks for taking time to write an answer.
Will have to make 2 posts to answer all, due to limitation of number of characters at the 6000 level.


Feel nice to have corroboration on the knot, make for surer information.
Calling themselves "monk" is a "title usurpation" not congruent with St Francis intent, though.Be he who never sinned throw the first stone


I suscribe to what you wrote.

Am I wrong in thinking you are a caving practitionner.
If that is the case why don't you post us something argumented on some "juicy" "scandalous" matter in caving knotting?

Knot are of interest to me only inasmuch they are tools.
For instance what is for some a beautifully decorative mat is for me a quite utilitarian block mat saving the deck the distress of being beaten by blocks, Turk head's ( bonnet turc in French) are helping climbing mast or getting a good handhold...

I think that many "new" knots ( no reason to think sailors of old could not /have not made some of them , hence the " " bracketting new).
I feel that just as most of the cause for surgery progresses do not lie so much with "better" surgeons but only with progresses in anesthesia and reanimation, allowing surgeons to show their prowesses ; knot "invention"/"(re)discovery" is permitted or made mandatory by new technology in ropemaking and extension to the public at large of activities such as caving and climbing.

I would find interesting post on "about caving knot so and so..."

Fairlead aka gordon5463

I cannot suscribe wholehearthedly to your point of view, I beg to differ, respectfully ( the begging & the differing).

But I will say with French philosopher Voltaire " I am not in agreement with your position, but I will fight unto death so that you have the right to express it" ( one of Voltaire opponant had summarily been put in jail for a matter of expressing publicly his opinion.)

I know that"the map is not the territory", or as Magrite demonstrated graphically by putting as title to one of his paintings representing a pipe : "this is not a pipe".

But except in your own backyard you will find that a map, even sketchily drawn can avoid many miles of errant walking, if not some danger.

In the case in point not only the name is wrong ( wrong as in "not exact", "not adapted" : not french, not monk...) but more than that you can reverse negative pictures of the 2 knots till Enf Of Times and you will not get one with the other.

Under the same vocable are shown 2 quite differents "cunningly made kinks in a rope" (to steal from someone on the forum).
More : the knot in fact used by Franciscans in real life is in 99% of instances not illustrating the "Fransciscan's"label/caption.

You sent me on a tangent and may be I will start another topic, were I hope to address your considerations.
May be they ( your considerations) can be put on the side, as in "archived" or "noted", but certainly not entirely discarded out of hand : that would be too disrespectul and not good "thinking" procedure.
Will try and open that particular can of worms soon : naming and classification and the rest... Soon...must have time to get my thinking structured in 6000 characters!

As for minefield ( not joking at all here : I have a very profund hate for those instruments of indiscriminate killing/maiming)

May I risk a personnal consideration (I am a bit uneasy : English not being my mother's tongue, I often fear to put inadvertantly  my foot wrong so to speak, and make by my "gauche" writing something offending while that "something" in my mind is not in the least an intended offence) :

I would have tought that your holding of the office of IGKT Librarian would have made you the "keeper of the Faith" and quite vigilant on "nomenclature" "nosology" and all that : in short the "high priest of orthodoxy".

How one can retrieve (fast, sure, unambiguous, repeatable retrieval) something without a pretty severe procedure? Or I am missing something?

It is not because a "faulty" notion is "almost religiously" repeated like some God sent words for years on end that there is no justification in putting a stop to that.
That is only my opinion, I am not the stating of hard fact.[ONF]

Making good a mistake is not slandering the author or sullying his/her reputation.
The more you respect someone the more you have the duty to tell when he/she is erring. At least that is my feeling.
I would hate that someone should find a mistake in what I say and would not make me the grace to correct it.
That is the mistake that is banned ( or perhaps not banned, just clearly "flagged" as such, since it could be interesting to keep the full curriculum )not its "genitor";

When I find in a book or on a site, a fault that I am able to diagnose, I always wonder how many more there were that I was not able to detect. And I suspect that I am not the only one having that response to "error found" flagging.
And then I am quite like the proverbial scalded cat. More of that on another topic that you put me in the mind to post.

On the forum, for my part, there is no "fencing"with the intent of "drawing blood" it is just a good training to keep neuronals networks in good repairs, done with buttoned foils.
That is the subject that should be taken seriously, not the "players" [ONF]

Last : you wrote "Just as an example, the two knots you mention are, to me, with a long nautical background (1) a Multiple Overhand Knot and (2) a Heaving Line Knot.".
I rather think that strenghten my point: why go to the extraordinary length of "creating" new appellations, quite restrictive and norrowing at that, in their connotation, when there exist perfectly good "descriptive" or "functional" naming?  "with rank seniority".
If one must do something one should take pains to make it an "evolution" and not a "regression".


  • Exp. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 181
  • G'day to you from France
Re: About 2 lesser knots : Franciscan's & Capuchin
« Reply #7 on: August 28, 2005, 03:52:56 PM »

Meaning of acronym ONF : Opinion (mine) Not Fact


Brian that was some months ago that I did that "research" on the Net. So I will have to try to retrieve all of it from the wet memory bank that play the role of my brain.
Went on Google Web and of course Google Pictures
Search words for getting the pics were successively
St Francis
Francis Assisi
Saint Francis
Saint François
Saint François d'Assise
François Assise

Capucin ( you will get many monkeys portraits!)
for the last 4 words : try first singular then plural form.

and try Giotto the painter of the time.

You might want to try

franciscan knot
franciscan's knot
capuchin knot
noeud franciscain
noeud capucin

Kind regards Brian.



First I must say that I like the very no-nonsence stance I feel in your posts.
Sometime a bit of a "dealing of sharp medecine" as history would have Lord Raleigh saying to the executionner.
But always to the point and factually, nevertheless passionately, argumented. (ONF)

"Though having one good source could suffice"
In the very precise point of the stevedore I would tend to begin to agree, it has the ring of truth or "vraisemblance".
But nevertheless I would be very much happier to have a second independent source. Really would feel better,as they say in statistics  "absence of proof is not proof of absence".
"belt AND suspenders" sort of guy I am in this.

I can tell you that in one of the few French books on the specific subject of knots ( putting apart those on old naval sails) dating from about the late 60s early 70s : 70 noeuds amarrages épissures published without avowed authoring by Editions Maritimes et D'Outremer
In it you find drawings that really suspiciously look like like clones of those in "The Marlinspike sailor".
That knot is name "noeud de tresillon" ( see under translation for that word) or "noeud de gueule de loup" ( litteraly "wolf jaws knot")

Stevedore knot is called "noeud d'arrimeur" ( litteral translation stevedore=arrimeur).quite often in recent books or web site of French language.
I suspect ( no hard proof, but the experience with the French translation of ABOK that I own since its first printing in the eraly 70s.) that it is once more the litteral translation of your Stevedore.knot.

Completly unnecessary to call it that.
In the French old sails navy it was called "noeud de tresillon" ( corrupt form of "noeud d'etresillon") ( More water to your Stevedore Co mill.)
etressilon for the Harraps dictionnary is = to prop, shore ( not the beach!), strut, brace and in nautical parlance : rigging batten, spanish windlass.

My French-Englih / English-French Marine vocabulary ( 18th words and phrases) by David H. Roberts give
tresillon =heaver, woolder.
And the act od putting a tresillon ( that is tresilloner is = to swift, to seize temporarily.)

Why don't you try and unhearth Stevedore archives or publications and put a post to enlighten us.
Well! at least me, but I suspect there are many others that could take an interest in this sort of "cleaning out the weeds".
As for your last paragraph I concur entirely and without reserve.

Too many great mistakes ( killing and sometimes mass-killing mistakes ) were made only because 2 persons were not using the same fixed and agreed frame of reference.

Past errors should not be "respected", (respected as in "let them live and grow").
(ONF) :  errors of the past should be branded "interesting historical data" and unmercifully put right ( till the next revision...). Branded and left in the past and certainly not accepted in the present lest they are propulsed in the future.

I put it here but is is for all ( not Knots books, but books pertaining to the "typology" of the discussion we are having here.)

They make for quite a demonstration of the absolute, vital, necessity to act and think within the same unambiguous frame of reference on which each and all the "actors" must be agreed.
It is a quite necessary condition ( alas not sufficient)  to have more than a snowball chance in hell to avoid disasters small and huge.

By Keith Devlin  "Infosense, turning information into knowledge" published by W.H. Freeman and company (NY)

By E.C. Poulton "Behavioral decision theory - A new approach" published by Cambridge University Press

and, sorry it is in French, but quite informative an easy to learn for all those who have French language;

Par Christian Morel " les decisions absurdes - Sociologie des erreurs radicales et persistantes"
published by Gallimar-Bibliotheque des sciences humaines (paris)
By Christian Morel "Absurd decisions6 Sociology of radical and enduring errors"


  • Exp. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 142
Re: About 2 lesser knots : Franciscan's & Capuchin
« Reply #8 on: September 01, 2005, 01:29:26 PM »
I will return later to read this thread properly, but thanks to you all, for a very interesting thread!
IGKT Member


  • Exp. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 181
  • G'day to you from France
Confirmation : Franciscan's & Capuchin
« Reply #9 on: September 12, 2005, 06:52:38 PM »

Just received a mail from a Franciscan lesser Friar

Begin quote/
"Voici la réponse à votre question :

Les frères capucins et franciscains que j'ai approchés sont unanimes pour me dire que le noeud utilisé dans l'ensemble des branches de l'ordre franciscain est le noeud A1. Quant aux s½urs clarisses, elles ne semblent guère être préoccupées par cette question : dans le monastère que j'ai contacté, chacune a sa méthode et ne se soucie pas de savoir s'il y a un modèle à suivre : s'il y en a un, elles ignorent lequel !!!!"
End quote

That is
" Capucins and Franciscans Friars that I have contacted unanimously told me that the knot in use in all the branches of the Franciscan Order is Knot A1 ( note : I sent pics and this A1 was the one I say is the "right" one in my post). As for the Clarisses Sisters they do not appear to have preoccupation about this question : in the monastery that I contacted everyone do as please her and no one bother with which model they use, if there was ever one they do not know about it"


  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 92
Re: About the Franciscan's Knot
« Reply #10 on: September 13, 2005, 05:57:46 PM »
Nautile / Charles,

Thank you for posting the letter from the Franciscan lesser Friar. I am convinced that ABOK #517, a "Threefold Overhand Knot" is the answer to the question: what knot is used in a Franciscan rope belt?

I would like to refer to your photograph named the "So-called Franciscan Knot" that you show here: .

The knot on top can be dressed in two ways, the way you show (Franciscan form) and the way shown here: .  The two tied "knots" can be transformed into each other by rolling the outside bight or the outside turns. Neither are theoretical, that is, both appear in historical knot work: one on the Francisan rope belts, the other in the Inca (Inka) Quipus (khipus).

I have not seen the Quipus knot shown in Ashley and both could be said to be "Threefold Overhand Knots". This might make an interesting example to consider and discuss under the topics of and rules for knot definition and knot names. How are they to be distinguished?

I have always wondered about the validity of labelling knots as decorative or practical. Decorative and practical are surely a description of the application and not the knot. The "Franciscan form" of the "Threefold Overhand Knot", on the belt, could be argued to be decorative. However, if the knot contains symbolic meaning and communicates that meaning, it could be argued that it is practical. As a stopper knot, the "Franciscan form" is certainly practical - it is both! The Quipus form is certainly practical as it is (was) used for record keeping. By the way, in works on the quipus, that I have seen, this knot is called a "Long Knot".

Just some thoughts - Brian.


  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 92
Re: About the Capuchin's Knot
« Reply #11 on: September 13, 2005, 06:24:44 PM »
Nautile / Charles,

I would like to refer to the photo that you named "So-called Capucin Knot" that you show here: .

You note that the "So-called Capucin Knot" is a badly made ABOK #535. I would say that it is not ABOK #535. I have not found it in Ashley - has anyone else?

In my previous post, on the "Franciscan Knot", I mentioned rolling the bight or turns to transform one "knot" into another. If one "rolls" the "So-called Capucin Knot", the result is the "Stevedore Knot", ABOK #522. I am tempted to say that the "So-called Capucin Knot" is a badly dressed, or if you prefer, a badly tied "Stevedore Knot".

Just another thought and comment - Brian.


  • Exp. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 181
  • G'day to you from France
Re: About 2 lesser knots : Franciscan's & Capuchin
« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2005, 05:02:24 PM »
Hi Brian! Thank for the interacting.

You put your finger where it hurts.
( in acupunctural practice it is call "ashi" point ( ashi - French transcription - being equivalent to 'ouch' in English or 'aîe' in French), that is  a 'natural point' temporarily created by the body to indicate where to apply the cure : always the right place to treat! Good for you Brian!

Yes! I have seen (once) this 2nd dressing under the label 'Franciscan's'. It  is not the knot  ( or rather dressing)  the lesser Friars use. At least as far I have been able to ascertain so far.

Yes! Right about the quipus & Inca, right down to their spelling varieties.
This sort of 'note' would be good to put in the Knot'S Individual File ( KIF) when available under its 'verified' form as here is the case ( the 'note' I mean).

Quipus not in ABOK, yes. ( new or missed?( Hi Dan_Lehman) in any case 'not in ABOK'). But were they widely known, outside universities, at the time Ashley wrote?

A tangent now. ( still have one point of contact with the bigger figure as all tangent of good pedigree have).
In my trade exist 2 notions :
- genotype : the code program for heridity
- phenotype : the outward "shape" of the outcome of genotype execution

About the 2 dressings : I would say same genotype ( fondamental) and different phenotypes ( epi-phenomenal).
So :
either put them in the same 'drawer' in the big chest of knots, but with labels having a differentiating letter index
or (better my mind) one drawing of the 'undressed' knot ( pity it is not a pretty young girl! being undressed, I shockingly mean- sorry Ladies. ;-)), that is the knot just as it is put in place before any dressing attempt and one number only. Put the information about the dressings options in the paragraph heade "MethodS".
Must take care to have the least ambiguity as is possible in illustrations ( photo-drawing) and at the same time keep the most extensive collection of information on "methods"

I find your considerations on ornemental/practical very interesting. Wish you would make a post on it in "defining knot" so as to group information.

Yes : all is in the eye of the beholder.

Fine point for diagnossis this notion of communication of meaning = practical. Practical as in "put to pragmatical,down to earth ( bad form fro spiritual Friars) use"

I would add that'ornemental', in many cases, has the function of signaling or stating : social status, or stance in life.
'Making sense' and not just 'making pretty'.

"long knot"
May refer to the whole rope considered as a knot(ing). ( will explain later while the rope can be considered and one long 'continuous' entity, and not a discrete one if you take the individual knots along it as reference.
Other consideration : if memory serve 3 folds is only one of several varieties, 4,5...7...folds. So 'long'

I would risk an hypothesis :
the choosen dressing was
- for maintening a 'continuous' value to the rope, rather than a discrete value due to the successive knots. The "outside part" in the second form of dressing maintain the illusion that somehow the rope is 'continued' all along.
- due to the fact that the more folds you use the more difficult it is to dress the knot in the #517 shape. Should be verified with several knotters of different hability doing both dressing shape successively.

I think that some knots ( oriental ones) were deliberately, from conception, ornemental ( see ikebana, origami, haïku/haïki...for example of japanese aesthetic preoccupations - I have less "contact with the other civilisations in Orient).
Though one must never forget that it could have been a clever disguise under which were stated social status, ability status...

Just as in French law we make a difference between arms by 'nature', 'true one', by conception (e.g : Commando knife) and arms by destination (e.g : kitchen knife usedto kill a human being) I suggest that there may be knots:

- ornemental by 'nature'. Exemplify?
- ornemental by destination or occasion. Almost all of them ?

It seem that there is ( if not a logically driven one) a socially driven ( use/usage, and here we meet again with your post on dictionnaries outlooks) consensus to attribute, "at what is the present time", mainly ornemental qualities to some knots/
e.g : TH are for most "ornemental", to me they are without doubt "tools". Mainly, i am interested in knots because they are tools.

Should the nowadays opinion prevail or should the historical background prevail?
Must find a way to keep both aspect of information.
Do not know how at the moment.
May be we should ask Dan_Alaske/Knot-tyer his opinion as he is a master at ornemental knot solfegio, and composition.
May be I will send him an e-mail if he does not see and react to these posts.


Charles / Nautile


  • Exp. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 181
  • G'day to you from France
Re: About 2 lesser knots : Franciscan's & Capuchin
« Reply #13 on: September 14, 2005, 05:08:57 PM »
it is not ABOK"535

That is what I meant to signify while giving some 'anchoring' from ABOK.
Yes it is not #535 since the omission of the first fold modify the whole knot #535 in another one.

Nobody at this time put an ABOK# for the so-called capucin's and I have yet to find one for it. But thanks to your input I may have one ( subject to a slight modification).
Imagine ABOK#1119 the Hangman's knot with the standing part  put out of the "cylinder" of what is a capucin's knot.
Does it comes from here ? Your guess is as good as mine. Topologicaly plausible.

My first working hypothesis before your input, was "bastardized" #535 due to lack of knowledge of this knot.
Capucin's does not have the 'wholesomeness' of #535.
I find your hypothesis have a " a more natural, easier, more economical and fluid" feel. I was trained to go to the simplest hypothesis ( at least as a first approach before being forced by experimental result to modify it).
Ockham's razor is 'transcultural' good practice. ( contrary to an also transcultural but very bad practice : following Procrustes 's very bad bed manners, too oft used by 'not so good' thinkers).
Good experimenting that, collapsing the Capucin's into Stevedore's #522. Will try it.
Wish I had thought of it!
Envious no end I am. ;-)

( I should have expanded about 'stevedore's' that is 'arrimeur' in French and there is the same sort of discrepancies here as there are on Franciscan's/Capucin's)


Charles / Nautile


  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 92
Re: About Ornamental knots
« Reply #14 on: September 14, 2005, 07:36:41 PM »
Nautile / Charles,

You said,
I think that some knots ( oriental ones) were deliberately, from conception, ornemental ( see ikebana, origami, haïku/haïki...for example of japanese aesthetic preoccupations - I have less "contact with the other civilisations in Orient).
Though one must never forget that it could have been a clever disguise under which were stated social status, ability status...

Let us take a specific example of a knot name from the knotting traditions of Japan. The knots known by this name might be considered, by many, to be ornamental. The knot name is ume musubi. It could be translated as "plum knot" or perhaps "plum flower knot".

There are several different types of knots (different knot structures) with the name ume musubi. What they have in common is that they are symbolic of the plum flower. What they have common, in form, is five rounded loops - this is the key to a knot representing the plum flower (1).

The ume musubi is tied, in many applications, to reflect the characteristics associated with the plum tree and its flower; NOT to represent the flower in and of itself! For example, two possible characteristics would be: it is the first flowering tree (festivals are held for the flowering), and that the plum tree flowers in May/June.

A large tassel hanging from of float could be tied with a ume musubi in the middle of the cord. This knot would be read (from its association with the plum tree) as first growth, new beginnings, new opportunities. To read this knot as purely ornamental may be a indication of illiteracy! ;D

In the Japanese tea ceremony, a fabric bag might be tied with an ume musubi. That bag could, for example, contain a clay container (pot) holding the tea. If the month is May, in harmony with the time of the year, the host may have choosen the ume musubi.
That knot (ume musubi) is in harmony with the time of the year since the plum tree flowers in May.

The knot on the "tea bag" and the knot on the tassel are different knots. One interpretation of the reason for different knot structures of the ume musubi could simply be the characteristics of the material in which it is tied and the physical characteristics of its application.

The who, what, where, when and why of a knot name may open a whole new world (domain) of knowledge. In fact, the 5 W's may be as interesting, if not more interesting, than the how.

Perhaps I should think of copying this into a different thread as you suggested. :-[  :)

Cheers - Brian.

(1) Examples (there are more unique structures) to illustrate the five rounded loops are shown here: .

Also the ume musubi is shown here: . They are the knot shown in the third row, second knot and in the fifth row, first knot.