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Weifang-Kite Capital of the World

weifang

Located in the middle of Shandong Peninsula, Weifang (wéi fāng 潍坊) is the heart of the urban agglomerations in Shandong Peninsula. Under its jurisdiction, there are 4 districts, 6 cities, 2 counties, 3 municipal development zones and 1 state-level export processing zone. Weifang has a total area of 15,800 square kilometers and a population of 8.6 million. Renowned as the world’s kite metropolis, Weifang has won the titles including China’s Excellent Tourism City, State-Level Clean City, Model City for Environmental Protection, Outstanding Model City of Aquatic Environment Treatment and One of "China Top 50 Cities for Informatization". It ranks 41st in the list of general strength of the upper prefecture-level cities in China released by the State Statistics Bureau in 2006.
 

Culture
weifangAnnual Broad of Yangjiabu (yáng jiā bù 杨家埠), one of the three most famous Chinese folk paintings in history, began from the end of the Ming Dynasty. It reached the peak of its development during the Qing Dynasty. People usually replace the old Annual Broads with the new ones on the eve of Spring Festival, which is the most important festival in China, in order to give blessings to the family and friends for the following year. The subjects of Annual Broad of Yangjiabu are various, which include flowers, beauties, landscapes, characters from myths and legends. The architecture skills such as concise lines and bright colors reflect the distinctive characteristics of people in Weifang.

weifangPaper cutting in Gaomi (gāo mì 高密) has a long history for more than four hundred years. This widely spread handicraft has unique styles, such as strong contrast in color, straight and simple line and exaggerated outline. The characters mostly come from the dramatic stories, flowers and birds, as well as some fantastic symbols.


History of Chinese Kites
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During the Spring-and-Autumn-Period and the period of the the Warring States, some 2300 years ago, the first kite had been developed in the province of Shandong. The long literary tradition of China enables us to find more detailed information. Regarding to the book of Han Fei Zi (hán fēi zǐ 韩非子), the master of joinery Mu Zi (mò zǐ 墨子) had been constructing within three years time of development a man-lifting kite, known as the Wooden-Black-Eard-Kite. Some time later the master of joinery named Lu Ban (lǔ bān 鲁班), had been building another Wooden-Black-Eard-Kite, that had been used as reconaissance device above the ancient city of Song Cheng (sòng chéng 宋城). Both masters originate from the ancient state of Lu, today named Qufu (qǔ fù 曲阜). 

weifangThe first descriptions of kites made with bamboo frames covered by paper and silk, originate from the Tang Dynasty Within his book of kites, it writes not only about the classic Wooden-Black-Eard-Kite, but also about many other kinds, known and build up to date. Especially the heron or egret kite, a bird kite with wings and legs that are moving like real ones, gives a realistic view of flight. Today’s quality kites sometimes are constructed according to these historic patterns mimicing a living birds when landing. Just have a look at the Hunting Eagle Kite with his realistic claws, three dimensional beak and inclined head. When landing this kite, it gives a realistic impression of an eagle preying game.
 
The kite from WeiFang entered history about 1000 years ago and was part of the territory of the ancient Warring Empires. The city of WeiFang had been a main centre of kite building since the Ming- and Qing-Dynasties. Since 1984 the city is hosting the largest international kite festival on earth. It usually takes place in the midst of springtime at the end of April. In 1988 WeiFang had been declared the Capital City of Kites. With the foundation of the World Kite Federation (WKF) a year later, with headquarters of the World Kite Federation and its long history of kite building and the largest kite festival on earth, the city of WeiFang is the legitimate global capital and homestead of kites. The clear and vivid history, natural beauty and many fold variety of kites are illustrated in the renown and unique WeiFang Kite Museum. Seen from a distance, the roof of this outstanding museum resembles a centipede. You are cordially invited to visit the treasures of 2300 years of kite history.
 
weifangKites of WeiFang have conspicuous features of art and craft. Motives and forms of kites are unique, outstanding and manifold. You will find animals like all kind of birds, turtles, insects like butterflies and fireflies, frogs, fishes and other kinds of marine life, but also themes and motives of local an general Chinese mythology, tradition an religion, fairy tales and legends.  Themes and motive are reflected not only in color and decoration, but also in form and dimension of kite.
 
Chinese kites may be differentiated into four main categories:
1. Centipede (derived from ancient Greek centipede)
2. Hard Winged Kites
3. Soft Winged Kites
4. Flat Kites.
 
Centipede-Kites
Centipedes are kites-trains with a dragon head and a train of equally dimensioned kite disks. Head and disks are interconnected with one, mostly three lines. Centipedes may have enormous tractive power. These kites gives an attractive and vivid in-flight view, especially when the wind moves and deforms the kite train. Centipedes with dragon heads are typical for this kind of kite and are a specialty of WeiFang.
 
Hard-Winged-Kites            
Kites with hard wings have symmetrically arranged bamboo frames; the rigid central frame enhances the overall rigidity of the kite, as does the directly to the frame glued paper or silk covering. The two crossed tail spars do not form a complete frame. Thus the free moving lower seam of the triangle, formed by the crossed bamboo spars and the kite sail, will arch and form a point of attack for the wind. Yangjiabu (杨家埠) kites are a typical example for Kites with hard wings from WeiFang. The kite sail is made of paper or silk, and is colored by woodcut and/or hand painted. Pictorial motives and kite forms are of local custom (some examples).
 
Soft-Winged-Kites  
weifangThe wings of this kind of kites do have rigid upper rims. The lower sections of all these wings are flexible. Very often these kind of kites have more than one pair of wings, that are arranged one pair above the other. The kite on the left side is an example with two pairs of wings, representing a precious breed of a goldfish. Every single Wing has a rigid upper rim made of bamboo. Pictorial motives and forms represent all kind of birds, insects, fishes etc.. When floating in the wind these kites give a very vivid sight of flight.      
 
Flat-Kites
weifangFlat kites are constructed within a single plane, and are made of a complete rigid bamboo frame. All (four) sides of the frame or of the frame segments are limited by bamboo spars.
These kites are very easy to fly. Most of them are flown with long tails to grant a stable in-flight behavior. Flat kites are build in many forms and types, very often with pictorial motives from ancient myths and religious ideas, very often with a picture of the yin-yang sign. The number of kite edges is often derived from the number four as a luck promising numeral.
All kites within our online exhibition are not part of our retail offer. If you are interested in buying one of these pieces of genuine traditional Chinese culture, please drop us a line. Do not forget to specify the relevant features of your kite in mind. Please use the order numbers. We will try our best to ask our kite-maker to reproduce the exhibited kite. Please take into account that time of delivery may be longer than expected!
 
weifangThe kite most typical kite for WeiFang is the Centipede with its dragonhead of many variations. The artistic style of painting, coloring and arrangement had been influenced in a decisive way by the classic New Years Paintings of Yangjiabu, the artisan and kite builders’ village in the outskirts of WeiFang. The art and habit of New Years Paintings is a longstanding cultural tradition in the whole of China. Even today, all but many Chinese houses and doors will get New Years Paintings at lunar New Year with calligraphy, symbols and allegories, promising happiness for the year coming and to keep off evil spirits. WeiFang started the technique of applying the colorful woodcuts of New Years Paintings on traditional kites. The unique paintings and drawings are giving these kites a very vivid look and appearance. Especially kites representing animals like birds, will give these kites a unique realistic in-flight view. Since generations, kites from WeiFang are popular in China and abroad. They are exported to all continents.
 
Weifang Kite Festival
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Kite-flying is a traditional custom among the people in Weifang in spring time. The outstanding kite handicraft skills and the special atmosphere in Weifang are quite suitable for flying kites, making Weifang Kites more and more popular in China and abroad.In 1984, the first International Kite Festival was held in Weifang. More than ten thousand kite fans attended the opening ceremony. People from eleven different countries and regions, including the United States and Canada, took part in the festival, flying kites. Since then, Weifang has held the International Kite Festival every year in April and is known as the “International Kite Capital” worldwide.

Held from 20th to 25th April every year, the Weifang Kite Festival is an international kite grand meeting held in Weifang, Shandong once a year, which attracts large quantities of kite experts, fans and visitors from home and abroad.

weifangThe kingdom of kite in China - Weifang, Shandong is well-known all over the world because the kite sports are held here every year since 1984.During the Kite Festival, the Weifang city is very liveliness decorated with lanterns and colorful streamers, a lot of folk traditional artistic performs are spread out intermittently and the whole city is full of joy like in the Lantern Festival. The exhibition of traditional lantern is flickered and living when the night curtain droops.Additionally, having the background of history stories and the efficiency of play performance, the traditional fireworks with large scenes make the spectators feel very surprise and praise highly now and then.
 
One and two days before 20th April every year, all the people coming here to appreciate, compete and view have already arrived at Weifang intermittently. On 20th April, a grand opening ceremony is held and the kite stagers from different counties who are coming here to compete march into the arena with their own outstanding works in the hands intermittently.
At this moment, the sound of firecrackers, gongs and drums is loud to the sky. Each colorful kite is an outstanding works of intelligence and brilliant conception, there are centipede with many sections and legs, phoenix flying highly, colorful butterflies dancing up and down and cloud dragon shuttling in the sky. Even many kites of figure models in Chinese mythology stories and a lot of kites created with new meanings. 

weifangOn 21st April, the kite match is held on the Fuyan Mountain (fú yān shān 浮烟山) or on the beach of the Bohai Bay (bó hǎi wān 渤海湾). The day is the time that the kite stagers from home and abroad show their technology in front of the hundreds of spectators. You can see every colorful kite is waving in the wind and pursuing up and down in the blue sky, which lead the spectators applauding and saying "good" constantly. This is the climax and main drama of the Kite Festival every year.After match, the outstanding kites from China and abroad of previous kite festivals will be exhibited in "the Weifang Kite Museum". The Weifang Kite Museum is the biggest kite museum in the world at present. The previous works of kite stagers with extensive themes and changeable models exhibited here make the viewers' eyes cannot take it all in and dazzled.
 
Weifang Kite Museum
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China's first large kite museum, which collects and displays many precious kites and some documents related with kites.It is the biggest kite museum of the world.
The whole area of the Kite Museum is 13000 square meters, and its area of construction is 8100 square meters. The museum looks like a flying dragon. The inspiration of the construction design came from a special kite - the kite with a dragon head and a centipede body, which had attracted lots of interest in the Weifang Kite Festival.  
 
weifangThe museum has a 1600 square meters large hall and other 3000 square meters large different exhibition rooms. From the material objects, photos and real materials, you can see the origin and history of kite.There're detailed introduction of kites' style, kind, making skill and character. In the museum, you can also see the festivals and national exchange of kites.There're more than 2000 excellent kites in the museum, we can classify them into three parts: the traditional kites, the creative kites and foreign kites.
 
All the exhibits are special of material, color and design. Most of them came from bold imagination of natural existence, and they are complex of vivid form and traditional character.
There's only one place that you can see both the making process and the performance of kites, it is the Kite Museum. You can also buy some mementos and crafts from the museum. This is a special and professional museum of kites, if you're traveling around Weifang, don't miss the museum.
 
Location: No.66 Xingzheng Street (xíng zhèng jiē 行政街), Weicheng District (wéi chéng qū 围城区),Weifang
Admission Fee: CNY 20,CNY 30 during the Kite Festival
Bus: Take bus NO.2,5,16,22,25,30,32,36 and get off at China Bank Stop.
 
Weifang Yangjiabu Folk Arts Daguanyuan
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Location:
Yangjiabu, Hanting District (hán tíng qū 寒亭区),Weifang
Admission Fee: CNY 10
How to go: Driving a rented car with others is a good way to go.
 

 

Last Updated on Friday, 09 April 2010 16:59
 

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