Exhibit: A Kite Junket Through Southeast Asia


A Kite Junket Through Southeast Asia Begins in Japan, which is the featured Asian kite collection this year. A video of the Shironi Festival helps you realize the passion behind the Japanese kite culture.

Other countries on the kite tour include China, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. Each country’s kites are made of different materials, have different decorations and are used and flown for different reasons.

Kites from Thailand: Dating from the 13th Century, kites were flown in this Buddhist country as a blessing by priests. Often they had reeds stretched across the back making a humming sound. Today kites are flown in tournaments at the beginning of the monsoon. It is a match between a large kite called a chula and several smaller kites named pakapaos. The two different kites try to pull the other to his side of the field. The game makes exciting sport for fliers and spectators.


Many Malaysian kites have upper wings like the chula of Thailand. Their kites differ however, because of the intricate jewel like decorations on them and the elaborate trailing tails. Many tales and legends about kite escapades are passed orally through generations. A more prosaic kite of Malaysia, made by young and old, is the layang-layang. It doesn’t need directions to make. Any square piece of paper and some supple sticks can turn into a kite.

Japanese Kites

Japanese Kites

Japanese Kites: When kites came to Japan from China in the 7th century, they were flown as part of religious ceremonies to scare the devil or evil spirits or to call the gods down the flying line. They also became associated with celebrations and holidays such as invocations for a rich harvest, congratulations for a first-born son.

The kite culture of Japan is vast and varied.

Japanese Kites

Japanese Kites

Chinese Kites Exhibit

Chinese Kites Exhibit

Three Headed Dragon Kite

Three Headed Dragon Kite

Chinese Kites: The first written accounts of kite flying in China were stories about using them in battle to measure distances and to frighten the enemy at night with noisemakers from the sky. Because of the availability of bamboo, paper and silk, the Han Dynasty allowed kites to become a universal folk art and made it possible for all people to enjoy kite flying. Today China is famous for six main kite regions. Each region uses a unique kite style, with over three hundred types of kites.


Indonesian Kites: Indonesia is another place where kites began very early in time. Their first kites were made from leaves. Leaf kites were used to get their fishing line farther out to sea. Kites were also used to catch large fruit bats.

Because of the strong winds around the Indonesian islands, very large kites were created out of the indigenous bamboo, cotton fabric and later nylon taffeta. Indonesian kites are mostly shaped like birds and animals.

Indonesian Frog Kite

Indonesian Frog Kite

The Korean Kite Story Exhibit “The Korean Kite Story”, a new exhibit at the Museum, includes replicas of the unique signal kites used by Admiral Yi Sun-sin in the 1590s war with Japan. The kite decoration is a code to direct the Army and Navy. Visitors can decode messages and send messages in kite code.

Other kites in the exhibit are decorated with both the folk and fine arts of Korea. The popular game of kite fighting and its amazing use of a spinning line winder is a third Korean category. A short video of the flying technique plays regularly.


Indonesian Horse Kite

Indonesian Horse Kite





Exhibit: Kites of India


Indian Kite

India’s Kite Culture One wall is covered with the plain and fancy fighter kites of this country whose enthusiastic kite fighting may look like a free-for-all. Their holiday festivals originate from the belief of a connection between sky and earth.

However, the kite games happen regularly like a golf and bowling happen here. Cutting line is available for investigation and kites displaying literary scenes of the country add depth.

Kites of India

Kites of India

Exhibit: Kites Have Pull

This exhibit accompanies the featured Hall of Fame member, George Pocock. They both involve multi-line kites, which accomplish the power to pull.

After Pocock’s development of a pair of four-line arch kites to pull a carriage, the next time multi-line kites appeared in large amounts was Paul Garbor’s WWII Target kites that pulled a moving object to train gunners on ships.


The two-line stunt kite was popularized for the general public by Peter Powell. His 3 & 4-foot diamonds with their dramatic tails became a new flying entertainment and performing opportunity.

Soon the delta wing two-line kites were developed and provided more move ability and pull. By flying these kites in tandem, the tremendousness pulling of kites came to the forefront.


The final part of this exhibit includes Peter Lynn’s prototype kite buggy, a video of skiing on ice and snow pulled by kites. The fourth wall shows how kites are pulling individuals, small boats and big tankers. Sorry, no room for the larger kites and tankers! Come visit.

Exhibit: Kites of Afghanistan


Basir’s Kite

Afghanistan: Kite Games with No Rules Like most Asian fighter kites, Afghani fighters are made of tissue paper and bamboo. However, there are three differences. The Afghani kite is much bigger, often two people man the kite – the flyer and the line handler who also acts as runner, and kites are often let out over 1,000 feet.  The exhibit also shows how political events affect kite flying.

The book “The Kite Runner” is included and it shows how California’s Basir Beria worked on the movie about the book. Beria will be at the Washington State International Kite Festival, August 17-23. He will make a presentation about his experiences making the movie, Tuesday, August 18, 2009 at the Kite Museum.



Afghani Signage