Tied Connections

Tying building components together with strands of vegetable fibre, leather thongs or bamboo strips is probably the oldest known means of constructional jointing. Knotted joints of this kind can be made without special tools and can also be quickly untied. That is why the method is favoured by nomads for their tents, and why, in Europe, it was used in former times for fixing scaffolding. The origin of this form of fastening is documented in the name of the modern structural element, the “tie”. In Japan, tied joints have always had a special religious significance. Many Shinto rituals contain the act of tying or untying an object or offering, often in cryptic form. Simple techniques were refined to the highest degree of aesthetic expression, in the process of which the symbolic content assumed an ever greater importance. In traditional Japanese houses, tied joints have remained in use much longer than in Europe and may still be found in the roof structures of farmhouses. The bamboo or wood log rafters are tied to the purlins with strips of material, and the thatched covering is secured in a similar way. Wooden rainwater gutters may also be tied into position. Knotted connections are commonly used in conjunction with bamboo, and particularly for fences. In Japan, the fence is less a means of protection than a spatial division. A large variety of fence types exists. Most of those that are not in wattle are bound together with hemp palm strips. More than 20 different kinds of knots are known.
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