Mini Kites

Centipede Kites

Centipedes are kites-trains with a dragon head and a train of equally dimensioned kite disks. Head and disks are interconnected with one, mostly three lines. Centipedes may have enormous tractive power. These kites gives an attractive and vivid in-flight view, especially when the wind moves and deforms the kite train. Centipedes with dragon heads are typical for this kind of kite and are a specialty of WeiFang.

Centipedes are available in all kinds of sizes: several hundred meters long with huge heads that may breath fire (as a kind of fireworks of course),  and needs a team of operators to manage, or very small centipede kites, that fly with the help of a thin stick. There are classical ones (see below), but also centipede kites with unusual style or other kinds of unusual heads.

Just click onto the appropriate link to see the example in detail.

Centipede 1001 Centipede 1002 Centipede 1003 Centipede 1004

More centipedes, some with in flight photographs, can be found on the centipede section in an other kite collection. Ofcourse, there are also other kites to admire. Mini-Centipede kites to be found in the Mini Kite section.

Artistic features of the WeiFang Centipede Kite

The article has been translated from the corresponding Chinese-language webpage. The "ornately expressions" of the Chinese original text has been largely retained.

The 'Centipede Kite' is an excellent representative of the typical WeiFang kite. In the Chinese original text the 'Centipede Kite' (LongTou WuGong, ͷ ) it is referred to as "dragon head millipede". With its unique variety of themes, the expressive and lively artistic forms, the elaborate craftsmanship and its distinctive colors, it underlines the artistic properties of this typical WeiFang kite. It has always been a favorite of Chinese and foreign kite lovers and friends. In the traditional realms of imagination, the Chinese notion of 'dragon' is a kind of auspicious being, that is
floating in the clouds and riding on them, causing wind and rain, and thus bringing benefits to people. The 'dragon' symbolizes the dignity of the Chinese nation, and WeiFang's 'dragon head millipede kite' is the embodiment of this traditional belief and thought.

In WeiFang's long artistic tradition, with the pursuit of a better life and with a rich artistic imagination, the dragon head and the millipede body were harmoniously merged, and the former 'simple millipede kite' became an integrated work of art, embodied as a 'Centipede Kite'.

The same applies to the still existing 'millipede kite' as a 'interconnected flight of kites', but the artistic design has become more sophisticated and modern. From this point of view, the elaborated dragon -head millipede-kite (here: 'Centipede') is a romantic theme of art and imagination made by the kite building craftsmen of WeiFang. It is this kind of creation that has added a unique subject to the history of Chinese kite building and created an unprecedented artistic form in the world of enchanting kites.

The combination of the dragon-head and millipede as a new topic in kite building art,not only reflects the rich creative talents of WeiFang's artists, but also refers to certain ideas and the strong desire of all people for a beautiful life. The Chinese people have always viewed dragons as one of thesupreme essence and higher being. Millipedes are considered to be descendants of dragons in the imagination of  Chinese people. Therefore, kite builders taking over the artistic leadership and use the simple millipede as a kite-body to give the dragon as a mythical being its specific 'dragon shape'. Humans either admire the majesty and vitality of the dragon, or ask it to bless the world to be happy every year and find happiness and peace all year round. In short, the 'dragon head millipede kite' or 'centipede' corresponds to the expectations of the traditional concept of the promise of happiness to humans, and is therefore accepted by everyone.

Lively-looking shape, sophisticated coloring and technology -
                                                           bright colors, strong contrast effect

Color is an important symbol that distinguishes the characteristics of the visual arts between different ethnic groups and geographically different areas in China. It underlines the local color of folk art. With regard to painting, WeiFang kites formed two basic categories for historical reasons. One  category is the traditional Chinese style of painting for those who understand art and create culture. A painting style that has only been a genre of kite painting art since modern times. The style has unique properties in painting and is highly worth considering. It has received many awards for WeiFang in kite competitions. The other category is the colorful traditional folk painting style. The dragon head millipede kite ('Centipede-kite') is the representative of this traditional representation and painting style. The formation of his specific color scheme is directly related to WeiFang's popular pictures, graphics and New Year Paintings.

Especially after Qing dynasty, the wood print art of the New Year Painting manufacturers from the kite builders village YangJiaBu flourished, and gained a high level of popularity, which also affected the coloring of the Centipede kites, thus creating a specific local painting style that developed in the so-called "Much Red-Much-Green" coloring scheme. In terms of painting, it absorbs the properties of the red and green colors of the YangJiaBu wood printing technique with ultramarine and yellow, white and scarlet colors to create a strong contrast. The main color blocks of the wood prints are brushed densely in the composition layout, which creates a contrasting, strong and bright artistic atmosphere.
In this way, the image is suitable for viewing from a distance, such as when flying the kite in the air. This makes the in-flight view more realistic and enables a special spatial perception effect, which explains its great popularity for many years.

With the worldwide and kite-related cultural exchange, in which WeiFang was not exempted, many new kite designs were developed according to a new taste of the times. This process did not stop at the traditional folk kites that were traditionally used. For example, some traditional kites have been given new colors over time, but the Centipede Kite continues to follow the path of tradition and still has the traditional locally used coloring and coulouring style. This kite therefore still fulfills the aesthetic needs for unadulterated customs.


And for all fans of Centipedes, there is of course also a centipede patch, to decorate jackets, caps or other kinds of clothings. Just have a look at the kite accessories section.

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Copyright 2002 ff: Hans P. Boehme and Feifei Xu