Kite flying

Kite flying

This picture shows a traditional intricate kite design made at Weifang, Shandong Province.

It's generally accepted that kites first came from China, circa 1,000 BC. Chinese folklore abounds in stories of kites flown for both pleasure and purpose.

General Han Xin used a kite to gauge the distance between his forces and the walls of a palace, so that his sappers might judge how far to dig in order to gain entrance. There is the account of Huang Jeng (202 BC), whose army was surrounded and threatened with annihilation. He had them build quantities of kites fitted with sounding devices and flew them in the dead of night above his opponent's army. On hearing the mysterious wailing in the sky, his enemy fled in panic.

During the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD), people began to fix on kites some bamboo strips which, when high in the air, would vibrate and ring in the wind feng like a zheng (a stringed instrument). Since then, the popular Chinese name for the kite has become fengzheng. The kites made today in certain localities are fixed with silk strings or rubber bands to give out pleasant ringing in the wind.

Province: Shandong Date: 1986 Copyright: © SACU