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!

#AtoZChallenge: April 20 – R is for Redemption

= Atonement, act of being delivered from sin

= “The restoration of man from the bondage of sin to the liberty of the children of God through the satisfactions and merits of Christ

The words: restoration of man from the bondage of sin, have a powerful resonance in modern times. This Roman Catholic interpretation of atonement – or redemption – is also highly romantic for a slightly agnostic person. But can there be redemption without fight against evil?

The same slightly agnostic person must ask herself the question of the relation between creation (resulting in being a child of God) and redemption (restoration from the bondage of sin).

“He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. (Colossians 1:13-14 NKJV)”