Kite Flying

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Kite flying (放风筝) is a popular traditional sport among the Chinese people. Kites originated in China, with a history going back more than 2000 years. Kites are called the earliest flying craft of mankind. Legend has it that a noted carpenter named Lu Ban in the Spring and Autumn Period made a wooden kite and flew it in the wind. Afterwards, people used paper instead of wood to make kites, and they were called “paper kites.” In the Han Dynasty and afterwards, people used paper kites to measure distances and convey messages. In the Tang Dynasty, kite flying was introduced into the neighboring countries of Korea and Japan. In the period of the Five Dynasties (707-960), bamboo whistles were tied onto the kites. When these kites were flown in the wind, their whistles blew to produce beautiful sounds. As a result, these kites were called “wind kites.” By the time of the Song Dynasty (960-1279), kite flying had gradually become a game providing entertainment for the people. Kite flying was introduced into Europe in the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368).

Kites are made of fine bamboo slips in a frame covered with paper or crepe and tied with a long string. They rise into the sky through the force of the wind. The techniques of making and flying traditional Chinese kites include “frame-making, paper pasting, painting and flying.” The various shapes of kites include traditional birds, animals, insects and fish, but in recent years, kites have also been designed in the shape of figures.

Kite flying has become a popular sport and a recreational game in China, enriching the lives of the people. At the same time, the hard-working Chinese people regard it as an activity which provides exercise, can cure ailment and improve their health.