Non-Violence, which is also known as “the Knotted Gun” is a sculpture made of bronze represent a Colt Python 257 Magnum revolver with its barrel tied in a loop created by Carl Fredrik Reuterswärd, a Swedish sculptor. Initially, the carving was installed at the Strawberry Fields in Central Park, New York as a commemoration of John Lennon after he was shot dead outside his house on December 8, 1980 (“The Knotted Gun,” 2018). Lennon was a pop/rock artist who co-founded the Beatles, a rock band based in the United States. The sculpture was later moved to the street opposite Lennon and Yoko Ono’s house. However, in 1988, the Government of Luxembourg donated the sculpture to the United Nations (Mishkov, 2018). The Government of Luxembourg donated the sculpture to the United Nations in 1988 where it was installed at the UN headquarters in New York City (“The Knotted Gun,” 2018). However, 30 replicas of the Knitted gun have since been made around the world with 10 of them in Sweden (Mishkov, 2018). The symbolic interpretation of Non-Violence involves a description of the artwork- the name of the creator and its initial and current location, the inspiration behind its development, and its impacts on the public.
John Lennon was a renowned rock musician with fans around the world. Moreover, he was also enthusiastic about global peace, which he promoted through his songs and charity works. Upon Lennon’s death, Yoko Ono, who was his ex-wife by the time of his death contacted Carl Fredrik Reuterswärd who was a mutual friend for Lennon and Ono to develop an artistic tribute to Lennon that highlighted his vision for a peaceful world leading to the creation of Non-Violence (“The Knotted Gun,” 2018). The knitted gun was primarily created as a symbol of hope and peace coexistence; it was a reminder of gun-related violence that had rocked not only the United States but also other parts of the world. In the United States, gun violence was mainly linked to gang associations. Hence, when Lennon who was quite involved in promoting peace through his concerts and songs was shot dead, Ono reached out to Reuterswärd to create art to celebrate Lennon’s push for a peaceful world, which led to the development of Non-Violence. Reuterswärd agreed to develop the sculpture as a gift and to honor Lennon’s memory; hence, there was no outside funding for the project.
Seeing the sculpture for the first time, I could easily interpret its symbolic meaning due to the tied barrel. For any gun to function, its barrel must have free passage for the bullet. Therefore, when a gun’s barrel is tied like that of the Non-Violence sculpture, it is an indication that the weapon is not meant for use. However, I was unaware of the idea behind the sculpture until I researched it. A closer look at the sculpture provides elaborate details of artistic creativity. For example, the grip panels on both sides of the gun were engraved to resemble that of a real weapon; seeing the image of the sculpture, one would be convinced that it is a real gun. On the other hand, its symbolism of peace makes it a significant piece that people from all walks of life can relate.
After viewing the sculpture and researching on its symbolic representation, I am convinced that it is one of the most significant carvings across the globe. Furthermore, the development of 30 duplicates of the sculpture around the world supports its extraordinary importance to the fight against gun violence. Therefore, not only does the sculpture reminds us of John Lennon’s peace activities but also the need and importance of embracing peace.
Mishkov, A. (2018). The knotted gun – Symbol of peace and hope. Documentary Tube.
The knotted gun. (2018). The Non-Violence Project Foundation. Retrieved from