Introduction and History
'Kite' was also known as Zhiyuan or Yaozi in ancient China, which means paper kite in the shape of an eagle or swallow. Originally, it was used as a form of technology during wars but later in its development it gradually became a traditional Chinese handicraft of great artistic value.
It is said that kite was invented in spring and autumn by Mozi, a famous ideologist. People also believed 2000 years ago that the ingenious carpenter Lu Ban made the fist bamboo magpie that could fly in the sky. During the five dynasty period (907-960) a man called Li Ye invented a paper kite in the shape of an eagle and flew it in the sky. Later on, people began to fix paper to some strings when high in the air which would vibrate and ting in the breeze like a guzheng (a string instrument). Since then, the popular Chinese name for the kite had become fengzheng (wind zheng). It was once used for military purposes as well as for delivering messages.
To make a kite, one needs to first make a frame, then cover it with paper or thin tough silk, which can then be painted on. It requires high craftsmanship to make a good kite and it’s considered to be a skill to be able to fly a kite steadily in the sky.
There are various designs of Chinese kites, such as fish, butterflies, insects and birds of which the most popular are swallows and eagles. There are also kites made in the shape of characters of mythical stories such as the Monkey King. And when the centipede or dragon-shaped kite composed of many sections is flown up high, it thrashes and dances about like a huge dragon in the air.
Flying a kite and the kite festival
As flying kites is considered to be beneficial to one's health, it is gaining popularity in many countries. The Chinese regard it as a game as well as a sport. Some people hang kites on the wall for decoration.
Flying a kite is best done on a bright and windy day in the open air. In Beijing, kite flying activities take place regularly in Temple Park or other sites where not only can you enjoy flying a kite but you can also enjoy the rest of the surrounding area. You should wear comfortable clothes and shoes when you fly a kite, and a pair of glasses would prevent damage to your eyes.
The most famous kite festival is the international kite festival annually held in Weifang, Shandong Province. Therefore, Weifang is known as the kite capital of the world. Every year from April 20th to the 25th, Weifang International Kite Festival attracts kite-lovers from all over the world. During this time, all different kinds of kites of different size and different shapes fly in the blue sky of Weifang City. And after the festival, a kite king will be chosen and then placed in the kite museum.