Author Topic: The Siberian hitch (and friend) in KM53:47-49, July 1996  (Read 6970 times)

dfred

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The Siberian hitch (and friend) in KM53:47-49, July 1996
« on: February 26, 2013, 02:42:26 AM »
I have been slowly making my way through the first 100 issues of Knotting Matters released by the Guild last summer on DVD.  A very hardy thanks, again, to those who were involved in this project!

While I was looking at KM53 -- which incidentally has a nice article on the Fiador knot -- I was stopped in my tracks by the illustration at the top left of page 48.  Entitled "How to Tie the Noose", it is obviously the Siberian hitch!  The associated article, "The Nenster's[sic] Knots", starts on the previous page and was written by Rolf Kvicklund of Sweden.  It covers two knots unknown to the author.  The first, a quick-release noose, is now known as the Siberian hitch or Evenk knot.  The second is a slipped fixed loop knot "with an appearance like a Sheet Bend".  The article details how these two knots were found in use among the reindeer herding Nenets people of northern Russia living near the mouth of the Yenisei River.  The knots are touted as being especially suited for extreme cold weather conditions in that they can be tied with heavy gloves or mittens with no (or minimal) exposure of the hands.

Kvicklund was summarizing a Swedish article on these two knots that was published in 1991.  The original was one of a series of articles detailing an expedition to northern Russia by Tomas Johansson and several others under the auspices of the Institutet f?r Forntida Teknik, or the Institute for Ancient Technology (Techniques??).
 
Conveniently, the Institute has reprinted the KM53 article here with a slightly different title:

  http://www.forntidateknik.z.se/IFT/litte/knopar.htm

The article in KM53 appears to have at least two minor errors:

1) The original Tomas Johansson article appeared in Forntida Teknik #2/1991, not "Forntida Teknit" #2/1990 as indicated in KM and the reprint.

2) The Swedish name for the Nenets people (as they are known in English) appears to be Nentser, not "Nenster".  These transposed letters appear to have been corrected in the web reprint linked above, although it uses the seemingly related term Nentsy instead.

One usually sees indications of Ray Mears being a proponent of the Siberian hitch/Evenk knot, though I've never been able to track down exactly where he recommends it.  This forum posting from 2006 includes Fairlead mentioning he has one of Ray Mears books that includes the knot.

If I had to guess, I'm thinking that the book may be Ray Mears' World of Survival (1997), which companions a BBC production that ran in two series in 1997 and 1998.    [EDIT: There are indications at KM86:44-46 that it is in Mears' Bushcraft and/or Essential Bushcraft.]   The World of Survival episode S01E03 was filmed in Siberia and is viewable (at least in part?) here:

  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=88QosNCLbBA

There's a tantalizing slipped loop knot shown tying up a reindeer starting around 4m30s.  Could this be the Siberian hitch, or even better yet, the fixed loop covered in KM53?  We'll probably never know because they edited away the tying of the knot...  However this leads me to a challenge for those here:

Can you tie the slipped fixed loop knot described and diagrammed in KM53:47-9?

I was working from the original KM53 diagrams and it was not entirely easy to follow.

The diagrams in the web reprint are significantly degraded, so folks relying on those may be at too great a handicap to succeed...  Even using the better drawings, it took me two sessions before I did it.  The first ended with a hand cramp from my contortions.  But after waiting a day or two I succeeded after some more trying.

I won't say anything further here, so folks can try their hands, as it were.



HINT: guvax nepgvp   (Obscured with ROT13.)


« Last Edit: February 26, 2013, 05:55:03 AM by dfred »

dfred

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Re: The Siberian hitch (and friend) in KM53:47-49, July 1996
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2013, 02:43:04 AM »
SPOILERS BELOW!













Perhaps not surprisingly -- given the Arctic setting -- the second knot is none other than a slipped Eskimo/Inuit/Boas bowline of the inside variety!   This latter point is somewhat obscured by the way the knot is naturally dressed when tying it with this method.  (The issue of the various dressings of the Inuit bowlines is a topic unto itself...)

The article's description of "an appearance like a Sheet Bend" is perhaps a bit of a giveaway, but the tying method so obscures the identity of the resulting knot, I suspect it will be of little help for most people when tying the knot.  It certainly wasn't for me.

While the comparison to a sheet bend might not be helpful for tying the knot (What hasn't compared to a sheet bend?? :) ), it certainly was significant when I saw the knot that had resulted from my efforts.  That the fixed loop knot described by Johansson and Kvicklund was also documented in the Arctic by Franz Boas 100 years ago should not surprise anyone.  When I saw it in front of me I had to smile.

I have since contacted Mr. Kvicklund and he kindly confirmed that the knot was as I tied it.  He even included a miniature "knot board" with the two knots affixed in his correspondence!

Here is an image for reference:




Several questions remain:

1) Is the 1991 Johansson article in Forntida Teknik the earliest known publication of what is now called the Siberian hitch?

2) Did Johansson and Kvicklund's publication of these two knots remain unnoticed by the knotting community until now?  I looked through the next several issues after KM53 and found no followup.  (Though a vigorous discussion raged about the so-called Tugboat bowlines, among other things...)

3) Has this somewhat obscure tying technique of the Inuit bowline ever been recorded elsewhere in the Arctic?
« Last Edit: February 26, 2013, 05:39:27 AM by dfred »

Luca

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Re: The Siberian hitch (and friend) in KM53:47-49, July 1996
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2013, 02:18:58 PM »
Hi dfred,

As for the slipped Inuit / Eskimo, some time ago I found a couple of pages where the knot is called "Kalmyk loop", the reference is a book in Russian by  Lev Skryagin:

http://dimview.org/knots/index.html

http://blog.iharder.net/2011/04/15/kalmyk-can-the-kalmyk-unseat-the-bowline-as-king-of-knots/
(This page contains a(perhaps illicit) link to the book which is probably dead,considered as insecure by my browser;I think he already talked about this book somewhere in the forum)
                                                                             Bye!

dfred

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Re: The Siberian hitch (and friend) in KM53:47-49, July 1996
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2013, 05:26:54 PM »
Hi dfred,

As for the slipped Inuit / Eskimo, some time ago I found a couple of pages where the knot is called "Kalmyk loop", the reference is a book in Russian by  Lev Skryagin:

Luca, thanks very much for the name and links!  Knowing what it is called in Russian allowed me to find a video of it being tied in a similar manner to that described above.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gQb45_KY5r4
(It appears this youtube video may be the same as the one displayed on the linked pages. I was unable to get that to play correctly on my system.)

They are simply passing the bight to their other hand whereas in the KM/FT articles it is suggested the bight is grabbed by the wrapped fingers themselves.  But in any case, the video should give folks a much better idea of the method than those tiny images on the web reprint. 
« Last Edit: February 26, 2013, 05:48:47 PM by dfred »

dfred

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Re: The Siberian hitch (and friend) in KM53:47-49, July 1996
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2013, 06:18:12 PM »
Here's some biographical information on Russian Wikipedia about the referenced book's author, Lev Skryagin (1930-2000).  He does appear to have been a marine author and historian.

The title of the book appears to be Skryagin LN Marine Knots.  I believe the translation of "units" for "узлы" may be incorrect on Robert Harder's site.  Also the "LN" in the title seem to be Skryagin's initials.

[EDIT: Fixed initials from LM -> LN, per vladimir3722 comment below...]
« Last Edit: March 08, 2013, 03:53:22 PM by dfred »

Luca

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Re: The Siberian hitch (and friend) in KM53:47-49, July 1996
« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2013, 08:10:28 PM »
 Hi dfred, thank to you!

It appears this youtube video may be the same as the one displayed on the linked pages

Yes, the video on You Tube is the same, but copying and pasting the name in Cyrillic visible in the Dimview page I've found some other videos:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HT6wYtgmxDg

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0p6x0wrAt80
(shows a "in hand" method, and is performed the other version of the Inuit / Eskimo; is the only one of these videos that I watched with a bit of attention, for now)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k9QJUE3MpgA
(This video shows also other knots, I will observe better)

                                                                                                              Bye!



Dan_Lehman

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Re: The Siberian hitch (and friend) in KM53:47-49, July 1996
« Reply #6 on: February 28, 2013, 06:30:26 PM »
2) Did Johansson and Kvicklund's publication of these two knots remain unnoticed
by the knotting community until now?  I looked through the next several issues
after KM53 and found no followup.

And by this KM you might've noticed --or were they unnoticed(too)?--
knots shown in KMs 19 & 20 (noticing) going unnoticed in nearly
repeated presentations in KM#42 and 56? is it?  And again, moREcently!

 ;)

dfred

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Re: The Siberian hitch (and friend) in KM53:47-49, July 1996
« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2013, 01:14:20 PM »
And by this KM you might've noticed --or were they unnoticed(too)?--
knots shown in KMs 19 & 20 (noticing) going unnoticed in nearly
repeated presentations in KM#42 and 56? is it?  And again, moREcently!

I had not noticed that.  And by "that" I'm assuming you mean John Smith's Bowline variants in KM19/20 and Owen Nuttall's in KM42?  However I cannot find it in KM56, though the knot at KM56:41-42 bears a slight similarity in tying method with the knots discussed here. It is also sort of interesting that when capsized by straightening the standing part it becomes a slipped buntline hitch.

It is not entirely surprising that the Siberian and slipped Inuit might have been missed... If I weren't already familiar with the Siberian method I could have easily overlooked the KM53 article.   If the article had included a drawing of both of the finished knots, especially the fixed loop, it might have produced a response.




vladimir3722

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Re: The Siberian hitch (and friend) in KM53:47-49, July 1996
« Reply #8 on: March 08, 2013, 12:53:54 PM »
The title of the book appears to be Skryagin LM Marine Knots.  I believe the translation of "units" for "узлы" may be incorrect on Robert Harder's site.  Also the "LM" in the title seem to be Skryagin's initials.

Hi, David.

The knot in Russian may be related to bend, hitch and knots in whole as in the title "Ashley book of knots". It was new for me to know from ABOK about these different names.

So, if Russian-speaking one hears word "knot" he makes no difference between bends, hitches and so on because he usually doesn't know about such a classification as in English. Any interlacement in the rope (of the ropes or rope(s) around anything) may be a knot in his mind. :D

As Robert Harder says Google translated the title for him as "Skryagin LN (not M) Marine units." Google is a machine that translates and often makes mistakes.

LN are really his initials, stands for Lev Nikolayevich.

Regards.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2013, 05:20:14 AM by vladimir3722 »
Vladimir

dfred

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Re: The Siberian hitch (and friend) in KM53:47-49, July 1996
« Reply #9 on: March 08, 2013, 03:51:30 PM »
Thanks for the correction of Skryagin initials.  I've fixed it in my posting above.


Sumio Mondo

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Re: The Siberian hitch (and friend) in KM53:47-49, July 1996
« Reply #10 on: October 13, 2015, 01:19:01 PM »
Hello, my name is Simon, I'm from Spain. I would like to add my contribution to this topic because one of my favorite books is "Dersu Uzala" by Vladimir Arseniev and I really like the russian books of knots.
Recently I've found there are more than one "Siberian hitch" in the book of Sergei Vladimirovich Óbručev.
http://www.outdoors.ru/book/obruchev/cp/cp_kr_6.php
- Рис. 101. Buryat, (I think it's the same as the Kalmyk in the Skryagin book).
- Рис. 102. Yakut.
- Рис. 103. Kalmyk (It doesn't look the same as the one in the Skryagin book).
- Рис. 104. Kuban.
- Рис. 105. Cossack

Hope you like it, Simon