Who Invented The Kite?
Probably Someone From Ancient Asia
Is it possible to know for sure who invented the kite? No it isn't, but
most research points to the Asian region - many hundreds of years BC!
While researching other history pages on this site, I got the
impression that China was the birth-place of the kite. However, on
re-searching the Web, it seems that the kite idea might have been independently discovered in Malaysia as well.
From these 2 regions, kites spread first to the rest of Asia, then eventually to the rest of the world.
A small but authentic Chinese Dragon kite
is a good example of how far Chinese kite-making skills developed. Such artistry and fine bamboo engineering!
Interestingly, a few specific names do turn up in ancient Chinese literature. Here's a few, each of whom might have felt that they were the one who invented the kite in China...
- 5th Century B.C. Possibly the oldest reference to kite-making
in literature. A master of joinery named Mu Zi developed a man-lifting
kite over a period of 3 years. It was called the Wooden Black Eard Kite.
Later, another master of joinery named Lu Ban made another kite to the
- 4th Century B.C. An engineer called Kungshu Phan created a wooden kite in the shape of a bird that flew continuously for three days.
- 3rd Century B.C. General Han Hsin of the Han Dynasty flew a kite over the walls of a city during a military campaign.
In addition to these facts gleaned from actual written
records, there is also a traditional belief or legend regarding who
invented the kite. The story goes that a farmer attached his hat to a
string to prevent it blowing away one day, and it managed to lift off
and fly for a while. Thus creating the first kite!
But What About Malaysia?
This country doesn't have the same extensive literary records as
China, but experts believe that simple leaf kites might have been flown
here even earlier than the first wooden and silk kites in China. A very
simple concept, but one that apparently works. It's just a large leaf
that happens to be the right shape and works nicely as a kite when
correctly tethered to a line!
Later, simple fishing kites came into use through many islands
near South East Asia and in the Pacific Ocean. These kites were made
from leaves or bark, fastened to simple frames of twigs or reeds.
E-book special of the month (25% off)...
The Delta is a very familiar kite shape to most people. This MBK version excels in very light to light winds.
If you have made Diamonds before, this kite takes a little more time to make. It's still a relatively straight-forward build though.
Get the e-book for making the MBK Dowel Delta kite. After making your first one in plastic and seeing how it performs, you can try soft Tyvek or rip-stop nylon for your next build.
This Delta flies steep and steady over the Light wind range, and sniffs out any rising air that happens to come by. Tail(s) are entirely optional, but may be added for looks.
The e-book is a PDF file - which means printable instructions to refer to while you make the kite. It also means convenient off-line access if that suits you better.
Jan 20, 17 08:15 PM
Conveniently, even stronger winds were forecast for yesterday, compared to the previous outing with the MBK Parachute kite...
Predictable flying would be a bonus since I intended to really work the ca…
Return to Paper Kites from Who Invented The Kite
All the way back to Home Page