A Look at Beijing Kites


The art of kite making is a famous intangible cultural heritage in Beijing, and is popular among the people. Every spring when the wind blows, kites of different shapes are flying in the sky. The kite flyers compete with each other, becoming a scene in the capital.

According to the information, there are many kites makers in Beijing who are engaged in making kites by hand. Among them, Yue's Kite is unique and has been handed down to this day. Yue Yunzhong, the founder of Yue's Kite, was a member of the China Youth Arts Theatre and a first-class stage designer. He had been engaged in stage technical management and stage supervision for a long time, and had participated in the production of many important plays, such as Sagongdalo, Montserrat, The Merchant of Venice, and The Battle of Leopard Bay. Yue Yunzhong liked traditional kites since he was a child. When he was free, he studied hard on kite making. He designed his own kite style, carved and printed kite templates, and made different forms of kites from bamboo, paper, glue and paint. With his profound skills in choreography, his kites are dynamic in style and each kite is a work of art. Some people summarize that the kites made by Yue Yunzhong have two distinctive features: Firstly, they inherit the general structure and style of Beijing kites, which are obviously different from Shandong and southern kites. Secondly, they have unique materials and techniques, high painting quality and optimized composition.

In order to promote the national culture, at the beginning of reform and opening up, Yue Yunzhong went to Tokyo, Japan to attend the fair at his own expense and made kites on site. His skillful craftsmanship and exquisite kites captivated many foreign visitors. The large kites he made are 20 to 30 feet long, while the small ones are just in the size of an inch. The kites are not only for viewing, but also for flying. In terms of types, the kites range from animals such as sand swallows, butterflies, dragonflies, golden turtles, annual turtles, bees, tigers, centipedes, eagles, cranes to Pan Pan of the Asian Games and Fu Wa of the 2008 Olympics. His craft preserves the traditional essence of Chinese kites, while keeping up with the times and making innovations.

Later on, the craft of Yue's Kite was passed down to Yue Yunzhong's second son, Yue Jianhua. As the second generation of Yue's kite, Yue Jianhua has been engaged in choreography production in the Central Ballet for many years and is well known in the domestic stage art production industry. While continuing his father's production style, he adds his own understanding and insight to Yue's Kite. He has enriched the image design of Yueji kites and enriched the aesthetic concept of the new era to further develop the production process. Today, Yue's kite is in its third generation, and Yue Yunzhong's granddaughter Shen Sixuan has taken over the banner of inheritance and continues to make kites in the distinctive Yue's style.

Yue's kite making technique has become the epitome of China's intangible cultural heritage by drawing on the essence of tradition and innovation in its development.

Translator: LIU Yu

Reviewer: WANG Jiahui