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What Were Kites Used For In Ancient China?

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by

Stella Kingwill

on 4 June 2014

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Transcript of What Were Kites Used For In Ancient China?

What Were Kites Used For In Ancient China?
As you may know, kites
were invented by the chinese.
Maybe, you might have
thought that kites only
existed as a toy (entertainment)
played by the chinese kids. But
according to historical records,
kites did not originate from
entertainment purpose but
from the ancient chinese military.
Kites
What kites where used for
As history developed, kite's use in chinese military
began to broaden to not just being used as a chinese weaponry, but also for intelligence collection, psychological warfare weapon,
communication tools

1. Spying Tool for intelligence collection
The han general Han Xin once used a kite to fly
over the enemy's capital city and then later
calculate the distance his army had to travel to
the capital city by measuring the length of
string/rope tied onto the kite. From there, he
roughly estimate the time and distance needed
for his army to march to the enemy's city.

2. Used as a weapon for fire-attack

The kite was used as a weapon for fire
attack. The kite was made of paper,
and the attacker will light the kite
on fire, and then shoot the kite (through
a large cross-bow) into the enemy boats
as well as tents. When the kite reaches
the target, it will start to burn it
3. Used as a weapon to confuse
People began to use kite as a 'flying bomber/missile'.
The idea was to tie the explosives onto a kite, then
fly the kite to above the enemy's camp, then
explode it, causing a confusion as a form to
raid the enemy.

4. Used as a communication
tool in chinese military
In 781 AD, the Tang general
Zhang Pi was trapped by the
rebel army of Tian Yue in the
city of Lin Ming. During an
emergency, he tied a letter
asking for help to a kite and
flew it out of the city of Lin
Ming. Eventually the letter
asking for help was transported
by the kite to his reinforcement
army and Zhang Pi was later saved.

5. Used as a tool for Psychological Warfare
In ancient chinese military,
a kite depicting a great monster
or made into the form of a dragon
was flown over the enemy army.
The enemy army thought that this
was an army sent by heaven (performed
as a form of magical/spell) to attack them.
Many were scared and ran away.
The attacker managed to defeat the
enemy army by just flying a kite over them.


6. Signaling devices


By outfitting kites with bells and flutes, they would howl and sing in the wind and frighten their enemies. Bamboo pipes would sound random musical notes as the wind gathered momentum

About a thousand years after
the first kites appeared, paper
began to be used instead of silk.
It was during the Tang Dynasty
(618 to 907 CE) that kites began
to be used as a toy or an instrument
of pleasure. Following this, kite
making became an art form with
elaborate and colorful decorations.

Kites Later on
Bibliography
http://www.chinahistoryforum.com/topic/13643-use-of-kites-in-ancient-chinese-military/

http://www.chinahighlights.com/travelguide/culture/kites.htm

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/11/25/1164535/-Ancient-China-Kites#

By Stella Kingwill
7A
Full transcript