What Is A Chinese Tassel?-Liu su

Chinese tassels are a popular element in Chinese culture, and we usually see them in their full glory during Chinese celebrations like Chinese New Year. However, did you know that these tassels hold meaning in Chinese culture and are not just for decorative purposes? If you’d like to know what Chinese tassels mean, their history, and how you can make them, stick around.

What are Chinese tassels called?

Chinese tassel
Chinese tassel

Chinese tassels are also called Chinese knotting, Liu su, Chinese traditional decorative knots, or Zhongguo Jie in Chinese culture. In non-Chinese cultures, these tassels are commonly called decorative knots. Chinese tassels are typically red and are available in numerous sizes and shapes.

Chinese tassels meaning

Liu Su

Chinese tassels held several meanings in ancient China. First, these tassels were traditionally believed to protect people from evil spirits. Also, ancient Chinese believed these tassels were a good luck charm in marriages. Chinese tassels were also associated with fortune and wealth.

Large Chinese tassels symbolized significant events, while small tassels signified minor events. In ancient China, Chinese tassels were also linked to eternity, longevity, balance, unity, interconnections, and a long life without setbacks.

History of the tassels

Chinese tassels date back to the Tang and Song Dynasties (960-1279CE), when they are believed to have begun as a form of art and communication. Historians suggest that tassels originated from the Lao Zi culture and later became famous during Ming before spreading to other countries like Korea and Japan.

According to archaeological studies, Chinese tassels are believed to have existed for more than 100,000 years, but due to the fragile nature of the medium, few ancient tassels exist today. Today, tassels in China are mainly used as décor in homes during festive occasions and in Chinese fashion.

How to make Chinese tassels

To make Chinese tassels, you’ll need the following materials;

  • Cord/thread
  • Scissors
  • Cardboard/foam board/heavy card stock

Follow these steps;

  1. Start by cutting a winding board from the cardboard/foam board/heavy card stock of your desired size, keeping in mind the tassel length you want to achieve.
  2. Wind the cord around the winding board until you achieve the tassel fullness you want.
  3. Cut a 5” long cord and lay it across your working surface.
  4. Remove the wound cord from the winding board by gently sliding it off.
  5. Place the looped cord on the 5” cord on the surface, center it, and tie the cord tightly around the middle of the looped cord.
  6. Separate the 5″ cord and the looped cord by pulling the former upwards and downwards, then cut through the looped ends.
  7. Cut a 12″ long cord and wrap it neatly and tightly around the tassel “neck,” tuck the ends into the tassel “head,” and trim the ends of the tassel for a neat finished look. Attach the tassel anywhere you desire.


Chinese tassels, typically red, are popular in Chinese culture due to their association with prosperity, wealth, and longevity and have existed for thousands of years. In ancient China, tassels were used to exchange information, while in modern China, they are used mainly as décor.   

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