Kites and the art of kite making has held a fascination for Chinese folk arts since they were invented by the Chinese people over 2000 years ago. However, there is no real evidence to suggest when or where they were first used, or who invented them. About in the 12th century, Chinese kites spread to the West which let to Oriental and Western kite art forming after years of development. In this process, the traditional art integrated with the Chinese kites craft, and finally formed the kite culture with unique characteristics. Kites are made of fragile materials, such as paper and bamboo, or other light woods. Because of this, there are very few kites over 200 years old surviving, as earlier samples have rotted or been burnt. The materials of the traditional Chinese
kites are mainly bamboo and silk. Purely made and painted by hand. It's interesting trying to classify these kites, since the Chinese have come up with so many different ways to do this. Maybe that's not so surprising since it's a big country and people have had so long to do it! There are no less than 300 varieties of kites in China! This system takes into account groups of kites such as human figures, fish, insects, birds, animals, written characters and so on. There is a range of standard sizes too, ranging
from extra large right down to miniature. How to make a kite? Fold an 8.1/2" x 11" piece of typing or computer paper lengthwise. Make a crease along the top third by folding it down and then unfolding it. Use scissors to cut a straight diagonal line from the top of the fold to the edge of the crease mark. Cut another straight line, starting from the open edge at the crease and cutting diagonally to the bottom of the fold. Chinese kites are works of art, whether done by a master craftsman or a class of young children helped by their teacher. In both cases, the idea is to fly an artistic design on the end of a string!
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