Chinese Rope Art
An introduction to the 'five flowers' tie and creative extensions


Introduction:  Chinese style bondage ("Kun Bang") has only recently become familiar to the western bondage world. Its primary tie, the "Wu Hua Da Bang" (commonly known as the "five flowers" tie), involves multiple spiral wrapping of each arm. This basic structure is different from that seen in either western or Japanese style bondage.  For several years I have been searching Chinese bondage websites and forums and communicating as best I could with Chinese rope artists to learn as much as I can about this tie.  I have experimented extensively with different ways of tying the basic structure and creative ways of expanding and adding to it.  I hope by sharing this information, others will develop an appreciation for this tie and develop new and creative interpretations.  

The tutorials on this site will introduce the reader to the basic structure of the five flowers tie and present some examples of how the basic form can be expanded on or combined with other more well known ties.  The tutorials are not about strict adherence to a particular structure or style.  No one 'right' way of doing anything will be given.  The finished ties in the decorative variations section are a direct rejection of rigid purity so common among practitioners of Japanese style bondage.  Rather, this site is intended as a creative stepping stone into a new style.  While some background information on the origin and history of this tie is presented, this site is not intended to be a history lesson.

History (or what little is known of it): Unlike shibari, whose origin and long history have been fairly well documented, information on Chinese bondage is much harder to find,  in part because China was isolated from the west for so long, but also because the Chinese government still suppresses most form of erotic expression, particularly on the Internet. Those that run bondage websites in China are constantly harassed by legal authorities and risk arrest.  Chinese websites that feature bondage are continually shut down by Chinese authorities.  One webmaster was even afraid to answer questions by email.

Why the tie is called five flowers is disputed.  Although several explanations exist, the majority remark on the design of the tie as having 5 critical points - the rope at the nape of the neck, the two upper arms and the two lower arms/wrists. The exact origin of the tie is unknown, but it does appear to have a long history. Depictions of the great Chinese warrior Lu Bu bound in the five flowers tie can be found in Romance of the Three Kingdoms by Luo Guanzhong.  Written in the 14th century, this historical novel is based on the events occurring at the end Han Dynasty in the early third centaury.  It is clear that the five flowers has a long history of being used to restrain prisoners.  Up until the last decade or so, it was still being used by Chinese police to restrain prisoners.  Whether or not it is still being used I am not sure.  The last photos of bound prisoners I could find was taken in 1995.  While it seems probable, I also could not find any documentation of the tie originating from the Chinese martial arts, as shibari did.  While Chinese web forums contain hundreds of images of the tie being used in erotic play, when and how the tie crossed over from a method of tying prisoners to a method of tying your partner is unknown. 

Anatomy of The Five Flowers Tie: The primary components of the five flowers tie are the spiral arm wrappings and vertical ropes pulling the wrists up to a rope around the back of the neck.  The spiral arm wrapping is the most unique component of the tie.  There is really nothing comparable in either western or Japanese style bondage.  While the overall comfort level of the tie can obviously be varied depending on how tight the rope is pulled, many may not find the position particularly comfortable unless done fairly loose.  In particular, the rope around the front of the shoulders and over the collar bone, the tightness of the arm spirals, and the degree to which the wrists are pulled up into the center of the back all greatly influence the comfort level of the tie.  In terms of security, even in the basic form, the tie is quite restrictive.  Unlike the traditional takate kote, where the wrists can easily be manipulated downwards pulling the rope around the arms down with them, the vertical stem ropes of the five flowers effectively eliminates any downward movement of the wrists and arms.  When tied with the arms parallel, lateral movement of the arms away from each other is possible (though restricted).  This lateral movement can be fully eliminated by pulling the wrists high up into the center of the back.  This would be quite uncomfortable for all but the most flexible.  Alternatively, lateral movement of the arms can be greatly reduced while maintaining some comfort by using connecting ropes between the spirals or wrapping the upper arms with a rope from the center vertical stem (see advanced forms examples 1 and 2).

Updates: We will update this site from time to time with additional tutorials and creative variations.  These tutorials will cover ways of making the front of the body more visually appealing, alternative ways of tying the neck and arm spirals, and ideas on incorporating the five flowers into different positions.  Updates to the site will be listed here.

 

Tutorials
Basic Form - Double Stranded
Basic Form - Single Stranded
Advanced Forms
 Decorative Variations

 

Other Resources:

China KB - Yahoo group. Not very active, but contains some useful links (though most are dead) and photos.
Chinese Bondage - Fetlife group, also highly inactive.
Forum Bondage - fairly active forum, mostly geared toward Japanese style bondage, but with the occasional thread on Chinese bondage.
KB123 - Chinese BBS
Suojiaoge.com - Chinese BBS



Do You Have Additional Information?: If you have any additional information, documentation, resources, links or insights of the five flowers tie or Chinese bondage in general, please contact me at ray@chineseropeart.com.
    

   

   

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