From the Klein Bottle to Shibari, and back again

  As a lifelong student of Topology it is tempting for me to claim that my recent discovery of the ancient art of knots and ropes stemmed from the same mathematical interest, the link being the gracious curves of the rope as it is shaped into pentagrams, and other lovely sinuosities. This would be a shameful lie, and I am not enough of a “faux cul”, as we used to say at college, to sully this – mostly – honest blog.

Topology is a magical (the contradiction here, is but all superficial) branch of pure mathematics, with wonderful real world applications, and some surprising constructs. Take the Klein Bottle. This, goes the definition, is a two-dimensional manifold – as you may have guessed already. Well… it’s always looked pretty much 3-dimensional to me, but then, combinatorial topology proves me wrong with such ease… Topology is the art of continuous deformation in the plane: that’s a better definition.

The maths on all of this is far from trivial – at least to this blogger. However you may go back to the classical Möbius ring to get my meaning… They say that the edge of the ring is topologically equivalent to a circle: what could be simpler?

But I have to come clean: what inspired me to do a bit of research, as one does, on Shibari, was not, initially, the abstruse, intricate and beautiful way knots can be tied, but the sheer eroticism of Japanese damsels in distress, whose pictures ornate specialised art galleries and, inevitably, afficionados’s blogs. Shibari is merely the preferred western name for Kinbaku, the “beauty of tight-binding”.

According to Wikipedia – in this, as in most things, an inexhaustible source of priceless – and thus free – information, “The aesthetics of the bound person’s position is important: in particular, Japanese bondage is distinguished by its use of specific katas (forms) and aesthetic rules”…

 I have to admit to a particular fascination with this genre. The use of soft ropes and bamboo sticks, the artful, eerie suspension of roped, naked and endlessly desirable creatures, appear to me such a blend of medieval barbarity and exquisite delicacy, that it titillates my writing imagination (I hear your laughter, dear reader!) Seeing a master at work is a great visual pleasure, in the slow, unravelling demonstration of skills, the helpless submission of the victim (?), the explicit or semi-hidden nakedness.

Rooted in 16th century Hojojutsu, and ancient Japanese martial art, itself part of the Budo school of unarmed combat, Kinbaku is a relatively recent art form, revived by Seiu Ito, a Japanese painter, born in 1882.

Now armed with (some) knowledge of the subject matter, I am building my own Klein Bottle full of wonderful knots and ropes, I have even started pinning!

5 Comments

  1. I find Kinbaku beautiful. And while neither of us have any interest in the suspension, double jointed aspects of it, Leigh has shown some interest in the idea of bondage within bondage this way. I would be honored to bind her, even simply, is such a manner and let her just enjoy her transformation into living sculpture.

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  2. Hmm… to divulge or not divulge? 😉

    I’ve been a fan of Japanese bondage for decades – it truly is an art form. I can’t say the suspension aspect appeals to me, but the intricacy of binding someone (or oneself, as I often do – I make my best practice submissive as I’m available to me at all times) from head to toe using a single length of rope while creating a visual masterpiece that is without flaw, is beyond compare. I’m not a fan of the harsher hemp ropes either (softened, previously wet, or worked, no thank you), but rather a nylon or cotton blend. The end result is about more than visual appeal – straight rope-work is equally as titillating for a true bondage fan. But this style of restriction requires an exceedingly precise process to achieve the desired effect – that is probably part of the appeal for me, my OCD would have it no other way! Add to that the fact that I am a photographer, and the result can and is genuinely satisfying. I say I’ve been doing it for decades, and I have, yet when examining the photos, I often find the most minute flaw – a knot slightly off center, the twist of the nylon cord misaligned for even an inch, the tiny variance in the gaping, or a knot that should have been a quarter inch higher, half an inch lower; it can be maddening, but maddeningly fun at that!

    Kudos on a great post! 🙂

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  3. Interesting. The Japanese contortion with ropes, soft or not, would not be something I not would volunteer for. As I looked at the photo I wondered how she would feel once she was undone. Physically not mentally.

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