Xu spends 41 years making Dian-style kites

Xu spends 41 years making Dian-style kites

78-year-old Xu Zuokun, praised as Kite Grandpa, is a provincial-level inheritor for intangible cultural heritages in Yunnan province. For over 40 years, he has devoted himself to making kites.

One of the Dian-style (Dian, short name of Yunnan) kites he crafted is called Dian Feng, whose shape is like a bee. It is designed to adapt to the airflow in highland valleys, capable of stable flights amid strong wind.

“My hometown, Weifang city, is known as the world’s capital of kites. So, I’ve been familiar with kites and in love with them since childhood,” said Xu. “I still remember the time my mother and I flew kites in the wheat field when I was five, really great memory.” Xu made his first kite in 1983. Since then, he started to do it with full effort.

“The happiest thing in my life is being with kites. I eat, sleep and make kites every day. Now that I am getting old, I just want to make more kites for the next generations,” said Xu, who almost works the whole year round and never feels tired.

To him, to make a good eagle-shape kite is to strive for excellence as the difference in size between the two wings of the kite is less than 4 millimeters.

"The most difficult kite I ever made was a giant dragon kite about 100 meters long, which took about half a year to complete. For me, every kite is made with heart," added Xu with a tender smile.

"Each kite is like my own child, and I am very proud of them."

To prevent his craftsmanship from being lost, Xu began organizing and compiling his kite design manuscripts into books several years ago. He said that detailed drawings of each type of kite must be made so that future generations will not forget this craft.

"Many people wants to learn the craft, but few persevere. Learning to make kites requires endurance and perseverance, and the ability to endure hardship is the key,” said Xu.
To Xu, the most important thing is that one must have a genuine passion of such craft from the bottom of heart. Now, his biggest wish is to find the right person to pass on the craft.

Source: Kaiping News App; trans-editing by Wang Yunya