Before the county of Corvis, there was the Wizard Corvus. Thirteen hundred years ago, a mad powerful wizard had an estate in the area that became the county of Corvis. Over his 800 year span, he created thousands of magikal items of various types and power level, some of which survive to this day.
The size and number of knots in hair, tied around neck, or hanging from belt could signify family, importance, worship, guild affiliations. Being able to translate the meaning of the size and placement of knots can give you a a large understanding of who somebody is.
May be used in a more barbaric society. Where in cities peoples clothes and crests show who they are, barbarians have no need for this so use knots.