Non violence and the knotted gun worldwide

There are currently more than 30 ongoing wars or conflicts worldwide. But some people are working on it. In case they succeed in ending these, we will have plenty of symbols and signs to disclose the achievement. Pictures of a dove with an olive branch, the CND sign by Gerard Holtom, the new interpretation of the victory-sign hand gesture, or the “Pace” rainbow flag, there’s much to chose from. But there’s one more symbol, whose presence is slowly spreading all around the world.

knotted gun luxembourg non violence

In 1980 Carl Fredrik Reuterswärd created an artwork, known as “Non violence” or “The knotted gun”, for reasons described as follows:

When the artist learned that his friend, John Lennon, had been murdered, he became so upset and angry over this senseless death and the many other outbursts of unnecessary violence that he went to his studio and started working on the “non-violence” project. “My first sketches in three dimensions were rather rough and simple, but the important thing was that the idea of the knotted barrel was with me from the very start,” he said.

The swedish artist produced different variations of the piece, the most famous being the sculpture installed in 1985 in Malmo/Sweden. It consists of a large replica in bronze of a 45-calibre revolver, the barrel of which is tied into a knot. The gun is cocked, but the knot makes it clear that it will not shoot.

Replicas of the sculpture have been installed in many countries since then, one being in New York/USA at the Grounds of the United Nations. It was one of the first three versions of the sculpture, bought by the Luxembourg government and offered to the UN in 1988. It was said then that:

With Non-Violence, Carl Fredrik Reuterswärd has not only endowed the Untited Nations with a cherished work of art; he has enriched the consciousness of humanity with a powerful symbol. It is a symbol that encapsulates, in a few simple curves, the greatest prayer of man: that which asks not for victory, but for peace.

Other replicas can be found

  • in Luxembourg/Luxembourg, on Kirchberg in front of the Jean Monnet Building. It is the third of the original three sculptures, the other two being in Malmo and New York. Pictures on this site.
  • in Berlin/Germany at the parc of the federal chancellery. It was unveiled in 2005 by chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, who received it from Reuterswärd in recognition of his Iraq policy (english articles about the unveiling here and here, german background article here, picture here)
  • in Caen/France at the Mémorial de Caen, a world war II museum close to the disembarkments in Normandy. Unveiled in 2005. (pictures of the “canon noué” can be seen here and here, articles here and here)
  • in Cape Town/South Africa at the entrance to the Victoria and Alfred waterfront. It was unveiled in 1999 when the government announced its stringent new gun conrol legislation. (pictures here and here)
  • in Liverpool/UK, in Cavern Walks shopping centre, next door to the original site of the famous Cavern Club in Mathew Street where the Beatles played in their early days together. It was unveiled in 2000 by Dr Michael Nobel, then head of the Nobel family society and chairman of the Non-Violence Foundation (article here)
  • in Lausanne/Switzerland at the Olympic Museum (picture here or here)
  • in Stockholm/Sweden (1995 – unveiled by HRH Princess Victoria of Sweden in the middle of Sergelgatan, picture here)
  • in Miami/USA (no pictures found)
  • in Göteborg/Sweden (1997 – Kungsportsavenyn & Engelbrektsgatan, picture here)

Reuterswärd wrote later that humor was the finest instrument to bring people together. While making his peace symbol, he thought of adding a touch of humor to make his “weapon” symbolically ridiculous and completely out of order.A flickr set of this remarkable John Lennon memorial can be found here, including sculptures and sketches.

The Non-Violence Project Foundation was registered in Bagnes Valais, Switzerland in 1993 and has  offices in Stockholm, New York, Miami, Germany, Brazil, Switzerland, South Africa and London.

If you know details about other places where the sculpture can be found, feel free to share your wisdom here. There should be at least 11, according to other sources more than 20.

Knotted gun luxembourg

Update2009: It was brought to my attention that in Phnom Penh (Cambodia), at a roundabout near the Japanese Bridge, a giant revolver with a large knot tied in the barrel was revealed in 1999, after the government seized all the guns it could find. It’s no Reuterswärd, but it’s pretty obvious what inspired this one (picture here and here).

Update2010:  30 Years after Mark David Chapman shot John Lennon, the Non-Violence artwork gained some publicity again. Another replica was unveiled in the Honolulu Community College on 8/12/2010 (more info here, here and here). The Kunstmuseum Bayreuth had organized a Reuterswärd exhibition, which convinced the artist to create another Non-violence artwork, a red “drawing in space” formed of steel bands, as a graphical symbol in the cityscape.
In addition, the Knot Violence Futbol for Peace Campaign was launched during the soccer worldcup in South Africa, the Knot Violence Box and other merchandise became available (more info here).

14 Responses to “Non violence and the knotted gun worldwide”

  1. 1 Dick Bunce April 30, 2008 at 7:35 am

    Has anyone made jewlry with this design that is for sale? A more effective mode of propogation than replicas of Reutersward’s sculpture. Please direct me to where I can buy this if you know… thx

  2. 3 Torbjörn October 8, 2008 at 4:36 am

    14 installations are so far made in
    New York
    Los Angeles
    Cape Town

  3. 4 André Beaudoin December 22, 2008 at 9:02 pm

    Allo ,

    Is there anybody who can send me the name of the street in Stockholm where i can go take a picture of this nice knotted gun ?

    Thanks you André

  4. 5 André Beaudoin December 22, 2008 at 9:03 pm

    …before 29 of december please….

  5. 6 tomas carlson September 17, 2009 at 3:11 pm

    There are 16 Non-Violence sculptures instaled i public areas for the time beeing.
    In addition to your 14 there is one in Caen, France and the latest beeing installed in the Chao Yang Park, Beijing that was unveiled on december 19th 2008 at 11 pm
    initiated by myself togethet with the artist.
    If you want to know more about Non-Violence and/or the artist, I am one of those who know most about Carl Fredrik Reuterswärd and his art, pls don´t hesitate to contact me.

    Best regards,
    Tomas Carlson

  6. 7 QFDaniel January 11, 2010 at 6:07 pm

    Actually,good post. thx

  7. 8 Chris December 30, 2010 at 1:49 pm

    from :
    The unveiling ceremony for the “Non-Violence” sculpture donated to Beijing by the Swedish artist Carl Fredrik Reuterswärd was held in Chaoyang Park on December 19, 2008. Wu Guiying, member of the standing committee of CPC of Chaoyang district in addition to vice-governor of the district and Mikael Lindstrom, ambassador of Sweden to China attended the ceremony and jointly unveiled the sculpture.
    The “Non-Violence” sculpture, a handgun with its gunpoint in a knot, is one of the representative works of Mr. Reuterswärd. The first Non-Violence sculpture was placed in front of the United Nations Headquarters in New York in 1988. Henceforth, 14 sculptures on the same theme were erected in many cities in Europe and South America. This one is the first ever sculpture for “Non-Violence” erected in Asia. The artist hopes, through his works, to promote and popularize the Olympic spirit of “Peace and Friendship”conveyed in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
    On the unveiling ceremony, Wu Guiying, vice-governor of Chaoyang district and Mikael Lindstrom, ambassador of Sweden to China delivered speeches respectively. It was their common hope that they would further strengthen the friendly relationship between Chaoyang district and all walks of life of Sweden, broaden communication and cooperation in serving foreign staffs and foreign-funded companies in the district, and jointly create a top-class international urban district with characteristics of open, safe, stability, harmony and ecologically habitability.

  8. 9 medeia September 1, 2011 at 11:28 am

    The city of BORÅS in Sweden has a knotted gun of CFR which was placed in 2010. This gun on the other hand is NOT a knotted revolver, but a knotted pistol, and an original directly from the home of the artist. Here is a link to a website with a picture of the sculpture. It is the Borås Museum of Art togheter with the city it self that initiated the placement.

  9. 10 uwe rüth July 24, 2012 at 12:08 am

    At least one edition with two nods was installed in the centre of the German city of Marl in the Ruhr-Region, which is in the same time the outdoorregion of the Skulpturenmuseum Glaskasten Marl. This is a donation of the artist to the museum and the city.

  10. 11 TRAN TUAN LONG September 7, 2013 at 2:12 pm

    There is one knotted pistol in the center of Phnom Penh, Cambodia

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