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.
You might have noticed that this site has a monthly newsletter...
For single-line kite fliers and builders, it's always been a good read. But if you are interested in KAP and/or large home-made kites you won't want to miss it!
So sign up today, and download the free 95-page e-book "What Kite Is That?" straight away. Info-packed and fully photo-illustrated.
And there are even more free resources, such as a kite-making e-course, waiting for you in the next issue of this newsletter.
Sep 21, 14 09:44 PM
Victoria Park adjacent to the Adelaide CBD in South Australia, that is. This large grassed area which forms part of the eastern parklands of the city is used for various events from time to time. Including, in the past, major horse racing and a section of a Formula 1 Grand Prix track.
An invite had gone out to various kite enthusiasts to meet and fly, since the weather looked good. We arrived after lunch, only to discover very light winds. A lone R/C flier was enjoying the easy conditions with his 3-channel electric trainer. Like a tiny Cessna, if you're not familiar with model aircraft.
For a while it seemed we were alone, before spotting a power kite in the distance, making brief forays into the air. Victoria Park is rather large!
It actually turned out to be quite an enjoyable outing, with the 2.4m (8ft) Multi-Dowel Barn Door kite just scraping into the air. But then, thermals were everywhere. It wasn't long before the large pale blue kite went right overhead! At other times, I simply toyed with the Barn Door, floating it way out on a long line then pulling it up to over 200 feet.
Another RC flier was now having success launching his glider, finding thermals, and gaining height in them.
We were eventually joined by two other AKFA members including the President. A couple of ripstop-and-carbon light-wind kites went up, with plenty of success. By now the breeze had come across the park from just about every point of the compass. Variable indeed!
In the distance, someone had been lofting a large but light-wind parafoil. It was interesting to see it sink out as an utter 'bag of washing' during a dead calm spell! Someone else had some success with a small blue Delta for a while.
All up, a worthwhile day IF you were flying lightly-loaded kites! No luck for Mike with his power kite and skateboard...
About This Post: These days, most flight reports are in the short format you've just seen, above. Usually, photos and/or video from the day are posted a few days later on the MBK Facebook Page. However, longer format reports are done occasionally, which also feature photos and video taken on the day. Here is a link to all those full flight report pages on this site.
Apologies for this site's current lack of video when viewed on mobile devices...
For now, please view this site on a Desktop or Laptop computer to see the videos. And there's plenty of them!
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