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Chinese Culture >> Chinese Handicrafts >> Chinese Kite History

History of Chinese Kites

Kites were invented by the Chinese people over 2000 years ago. About in the 12th century, Chinese kites spread to the West which let to Oriental and Western kite culture forming after years of development. In this process, the traditional culture integrated with the Chinese kites craft, and finally formed the kite culture with unique characteristics.

Uses of Chinese kites have been changed several times in history. According to historical record, Chinese kite was first used in the military. In the mid Tang Dynasty (618-907), in which the society was stable and peaceful, the use of Chinese kites was gradually changed from military to entertainment. With the innovation of papermaking, the raw material of Chinese kite changed from silk to paper. Chinese kites became popular among civilians with a richer variety of forms and reached the peak point in the Song Dynasty (960-1279). Participated by the literary, the making and the decoration of kites underwent great development. Chinese kite making became a profession due to the large demand. The Ming Dynasty(1368-1644) and Qing Dynasty, was the peak period of the Chinese kite history.

Chinese Dragon KiteChinese kites underwent great development in size, design, decoration and flying skills. Liberators at that time made kite by themselves, and sent to relatives and friends as a gift, regarding it a literary pursuit. In recent years, kite flying has publicized as a sports activity as well as entertainment. To make a kite, first, the right kind of bamboo strips must be selected for the frame. It should be thick and strong for a kite of large dimensions in order to stand the wind pressure. The regular paper or sometime silk is used to cover the frame. Silk kites, especially, are more durable and generally of higher artistic value. Third, painting the kite may be done in each way. Chinese kites could be generally divided into two categories: the Hard Wing and the Soft Wing. The Hard Wing can endure more air pressure and competitively fly higher, whilst the latter can fly farther, although it can not fly as high. In patterns, besides the traditional ones of animals, birds, worms, fishes, new patterns of human images emerged in modern times.

China has a large area of territory. As a traditional culture and folk art, Chinese kites have formed unique styles of different regions during its development, among which the most famous ones are the styles of Beijing, Tianjin, Weifang in Shangdong Province, Sichuan and Guangdong Province.