Chinese Inventions: the kite

Hannah and Omar

Chinese Kite

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The kite above would carry letters and sometimes even people!

History of the Chinese Kite

Kites may date back as far as 3000 years, where they were made from bamboo and silk in China. Exactly how or when a kite was first flown is a mystery, but one legend suggests that when a Chinese farmer tied a string to his hat to keep it from blowing away in a strong wind, the first kite was born. Another theory suggests that to make a high official's banner more visible, it was strengthened with a bamboo frame and flown. Or it may have been inspired by observing the wind-filled sails of fishing boats (the sail has been used in China for 3000 years). Perhaps the earliest kites consisted of a huge leaf attached to a long string (there is a type of Asian leaf that is ideal as a kite).

Large kites were used to carry warriors armed with bows and arrows that would fire down on the enemy. In the 13th century Marco Polo wrote about how the shipping merchants tied some protesting sailor to a huge kite and launched the kite with the wind before the ship set sail. If the kite went high and straight it meant a quick and prosperous voyage but if it crashed or did not fly well it was a bad omen.

The Chinese built many colorful kites for fun and they were widely used in religious ceremonies. More sophisticated kites were used to test weather conditions. As a forerunner to balloons and gliders they were important to the advancement of controlled flight.

Chinese kites underwent great development in size, design, decoration and flying ills. 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.

How the kite helped

The kite helped alot of people, it helped the army, because sometimes they would send people up in the air with guns and bombs, so they could atack from above, they also would send letters in kites, so they helped by making it easyer to give information to somebody. Kites are also fun to fly, so if you want to do something, you can just go outside, and fly your kite, and you do not need supervision. Another thing kites are used for is to represent tradition, religion, mythology, fairy tales, legends, and beauty.


Inventions of the Great Ancient Chinese Empire (3 of 5)