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Main Categories of Chinese Kites

Chinese kites may be differentiated into four main categories:


Flat kites are constructed within a single plane, and are made of a completely rigid bamboo frame. Spars (longitudinal beams) frame all the four sides of the frame or of the frame segements. Most of these kites, which are very easy to fly, are flown with long tails to grant a stable in-flight behavior.

Flat kites are built in many forms and types, very often with pictorial motives from ancient myths and religious ideas, or very often with a picture of the ying-yang sign or the "Eight Diagrams" (a kind of ancient philosophy-related Chinese diagram).

Hard-Winged Kites

This kind of kite is made of two bamboo strips attached to a rectangular framework, which is covered with paper or silk to form a triangle to ensure a good wind-catching effect and good flight performance.

Soft-Winged Kites

A soft-wing kite is made of one bamboo strip. The wings of this kind of kite have rigid upper rims. The lower sections of all these wings are soft and flexible, hence allowing the kite to float in the air lightly and agilely. Very often these kinds of kites have more than one pair of wings, which are arranged one pair above the other. Pictorial motives and forms represent all kinds of birds, insects, fishes, and so on. When floating in the wind these kites give a very vivid visual flight performance.

Centipede Kites

Centipedes are kites-trains with a dragonhead and a train of equally dimensioned kite disks. Head and disks are interconnected with one or more often three lines. Centipedes have enormous air traction power. These kites give an attractive and vivid in-flight view, especially when the wind moves and deforms the kite train. Centipedes with dragonheads are the typical form for this kind of kites and are a specialty of Weifang.

Besides the above four categories, there are also kites with no fixed shapes, but which have various motives and good flight performance.

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