About Maedup

norigae-colour-versionThe law of nature: Man comes from the earth and returns to the earth. All living things have a starting point and return to it once their cycle of life is accomplished. .

Maedup knots are a perfect demonstration of this law in that they start and finish at the same point. The cord is taken on a wonderful journey taking on marvellous forms before finished right where it started – a complete cycle has just taken place!

The knot was born of a fundamental need for human survival in ancient history. It advancement towards art took place long after its birth and was used to celebrate rituals and to decorate garments. The knot thus found itself elevated to the rank of art in handcrafts thanks to its beauty that no other can immitate.

The ornemental knot was first born in China, then spread throughout Asia. In Korea, Maedup constitutes an precious element of the countries historical culture and is present in a certain number of important rituals as well as in home decoration especially during the Joseon Dynastie (1392-1897). But the first traces of Maedup go back to the ‘Three Kingdoms’ period, 1st century BC up to the 7th century BC.

Traditional  Maedup is made up of a cord (kkeunmok), a knot (maedup) and a tassel (sul).  This trinity establishes perfect harmony. Maedup is symetrical forming the same design front and back and is always formed with one unique cord – even the most complex knots and the knot always finishes where it started.

Each knot evokes a symbol of nature or an everyday object : Lotus, ginger, butterfly, ring, glasses, strawberry, crysenthum, prune, bird…

The art of Maedup a almost disappeared due to the troubled history Korea. But was revived thanks to Jeong Yeon-su in the 1960’s. Completely enthralled by this art, he made a lifetime career out of it leading to the gouvernment to award him with an official honour as ‘Master of Maedup’ – an honor which was then transferred to his wife, Choe Eun-sunand, when he deceased and she continues his art to this day.

Today elevated to the rank of Art, Maedup has made a return to the Korean culture scene and is currently taught in a number of specialised schools.

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