Month: March 2019

The history of kites

As the breezes of early spring blow into March, one’s mind turns to flying kites. What is the history of kites, and why do we fly them? It all began in Asia, particularly China, and had many versatile uses through the years. Kites were invented in Asia, most likely China. Materials such as silk, used for the “sail” and string, were plentiful and aided in the construction of the air-worthy item. Earlier kites, from B.C. Chinese philosophers, such as Mozi and Gongshu Ban, around 549 A.D., were using paper when flying kites. The earliest known Chinese kites were flat and often shaped like a rectangle. Early kites were used for messaging, measuring distances, signaling, testing wind directions and military operations, such as placement of troops. Kites were decorated, in those early days of China, with military motifs and mythological tales. Sometimes, depending upon their use, they were fitted with whistles and other objects, that, when flown, would whistle in the wind or make sound, probably to locate them, and to signal. They would also make musical sounds when flying, a whimsy that was purely aesthetic in nature. Eventually the kite concept made its way into India, where it was used in festivals and as a celebratory object to honor religious deities. Kites also made their way into New Zealand and Polynesia in these early times, utilized as a festival...

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