Knots and knotting techniques have been used for a variety of social and cultural purposes across many historical and contemporary cultures. As one of the oldest techniques for attaching objects to another and constructing more complex structures out of single entities, the knotting of linear fibers is considered to be the historical starting point of textile techniques and architecture (Semper 2010 [1851], Ingold 2013).

Besides their material function as structuring elements, knots can also contain a strong symbolism. Such symbolism can be abstract, e.g. when using the terms “knots” and “knotting” as metaphors for the connectivity and interrelatedness of the social and natural world, but also very concrete, as in the case of textile devices using knots as a form of code for the purpose of encrypting data and information.