Author Topic: Trying to figure out ancient knot  (Read 903 times)


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Trying to figure out ancient knot
« on: August 15, 2018, 08:46:06 PM »
Can anyone here help me figure out how to tie that knot that is on the hip of this Assyrian Lamassu?


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Re: Trying to figure out ancient knot
« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2018, 07:27:10 AM »
Hi Meehanjo,

It seems no one is keen to make a guess at what this is meant to represent but I will have a go.  The most obvious part of this knot is a simple half hitch but there seems to be a lot of artistic interpretation in these sculptures.  Its not at all obvious what is happening under the half hitch or how it would hold the strap in place.  I think its most likely there is a ring or buckle, or just a hole in one end of the strap which the other end passes through before being secured with the hitch.

Unfortunately, although there are examples of Lamassu in several museums they all appear to be different and none of which make any more sense.  Presumably everyone at the time knew what it was meant to represent (and its only the lion bodied examples which have this belt) and the significance of 4 tassles but the belt / strap / sash was interpreted differently by every sculptor.  Just the appearance of a flat strap without any distortion or folding where it was tied suggests its more stylized than an accurate representation.

None of this helps you but my conclusion is its not any knot that is obvious or the way it is joined is easy to reproduce.



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Re: Trying to figure out ancient knot
« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2018, 10:33:37 PM »
Hey Jon,

I'm starting to think there's some sort of metal bit in there as well, or that there is some artistic licence being taken, possibly both. For a while I was convinced that it was a long cord folded in half, then wrapped around the animal that way, so that two ends are meeting a single loop and being tied somehow that way.

Thanks for the effort though



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Re: Trying to figure out ancient knot
« Reply #3 on: April 24, 2019, 11:39:00 AM »
In several ancient cultures knots carried magical powers and were not to be depicted lightly. When I was in Egypt the guide told me that the Square Knot was the only knot that had good powers that were strong enough that it was safe  to depict it in such detail that it was identifiable! All other knots had to be just hinted.

Could this be at least part of the explanation? After all, we know the sculptors had enough skill and we can safely assume they knew the knot/s.


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Re: Trying to figure out ancient knot
« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2019, 06:12:32 PM »
This looks very much like the flank strap used in bull-riding at rodeos. A flank strap is nothing more than a large, soft rope with an eye at one end (typically a metal ring, but can be a soft eye with a leather burner to reduce wear and friction). It is held by a slipped half hitch.

[Edit - I had to remove my quotation marks and apostrophes, as they turn into question marks here when I post from an iPhone]
« Last Edit: May 20, 2019, 06:21:35 PM by tomh »