[ Available in Spanish: " Cuerda " ]

One of our earliest achievements as thinking, sentient beings, it is said, was made about 3500 B.C. when Mesopotamians replaced the runners of their sleigh-like vehicles with disk wheels on a fixed axis. We can, with some certainty, trace the origins of the wheel. Nonetheless, we cannot trace with such certainty our first use of rope.

The use of a cart on runners, or sleigh, most certainly involved the use of rope by which beasts of burden pulled their cargo. Jungle vines, strips of animal hides, and other found materials surely were used at the very dawning of our consciousness to bind, to tie, to gather, to transport, to connect, to control, to subdue. Still, the earliest accounts of the use of rope also come from only about 3500 B.C., when Egyptians began weaving papyrus, hemp, and other fibroid plants.

Some apes employ rudimentary tools,such as a lollipop stick, to extract succulent termites from their mound. I have read many books, spoken with anthropologists, and raised the issue with friends while sharing a glass of wine, but I have not been able to learn of any animal, no matter how intelligent, other than human beings, that uses rope.

I learned how to make rope; for me, it is a purely meditative process like no other I have known, approaching the projected altered state of the most immaculate mantra.

The implications of rope are sublime, pedestrian, common, noble, sensuous, erotic, sacred, and profane.

My use of a rope motif, permeating my work, is an attempt to evoke all of these human proclivities through the ever-changing yet unchanging image of rope.

© Copyright 1998 Patricia Jane St. John Danko

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