Original Chinese Kites - Just Have a Look and Enjoy
Genuine Pieces of Art, made of Silk Paper and Bamboo

Chinese Kite Reels

Chinese Hand Reels

are operated using your index or your thumb. You will find technical explanations and hints at  "(3) Werkzeuge zum Aufwickeln der Drachenleine"  ("tools for winding up the kite line") in the section about  Flying of Chinese Kites.

please cf. Kites Accessories

Winding up a kite line, using a Chinese Hand Reel  (XianHuanZi) needs a little practice, but may be extremly efficient and fast. But exercise is a "must". Next picture illustrates the rewinding process. The reel is suitable for small and light kites (swallows, small eagles and aeroplanes etc.).

  • Grab kite reel with hand, and extended index finger. The extended index finger operates the coil. (When operated with the thumb, vary according to circumstance)
  • To rewind the kiteline, just push the the coil paddles with your index finger. Correct dosage moves the coil and winds the line.   
  • If line tension is too high for winding up the kite line (strong wind, kite too large), just use other hand to take in the kite line, and relieve line tension.
  • To stop the rewinding process, just press index finger on the coil.  
  • To release kite line, just release index finger from coil. If releasing of kite line is too fast (avoid rolling over the coil!), press index finger once again onto the coil.

Because of the
achievable high-speed rewinding process, Chinese hand reels are very often used in competitions. Next photo shows a competition in
Yinchuan (Ningxia Province, PRC) in 2011, attended by several European teams.

Contestants with Chinese hand reel (index finger technique)
Click image for additional photo (Yinchuan 2008)

Fighting Kite Reels

Kite fighting is ubiquitously to be found all over Asia. In most countries it is performed by cutting off the enemy's line, with the subsequent loss of kite.

Exceptions are Rokaku-fights: the contestants are just kicking the opponents out of the sky. Obviously the more friendly and less dangerous variant of the sport, (common in Japan,  Europe, North America
and other Western-influenced countries).

At the Spring 2011 session of the International Kite Federation
, the IKF Executive Committee adopted a proposal from the representatives of New Zealand, Australia, Denmark and Germany to support and forward this much less dangerous competition variant.

Back to the "bad boys": cutting of kite is usually performed with the aid of glass powder coated kite lines (Manja). To cut off the opponent's kite, a high tension of the cutters kite line is needed. To generate and propagate the high tension needed, the line must be rewound very quickly.

High winding speeds are achieved either by increasing rewinding speed with the coil bodies of the same diametery (faster turning, diminish gear ratio, or else), or otherwise, increasing the coil diameter itself. Technically complex rewinding mechanisms (gear transmission ratio etc.)
are often in contradiction with the reliability of the winding process.

Click image for photo of competition reel with increased diameter coil (ShenZhen 2007)

There is a technical compromise of a high-speed winding process by means of a special rewinding technique, often successfully performed by Koreans and athletes from Hong Kong and Aomen (Macao). Towards any unsuspecting competitor, a real "Story of a Youth Who Went Forth to Learn What Fear Was".

ShenZhen Int. Kite Festival 2007: HongKong Kite Fighters (additionally, click an photo!)         

A simple coil is used. Both handles are extended to about 40cm each. The lengthened spindle is placed onto the inclined thigh. The rewinding process is generated by rolling out the extended spindle-arms on the inclined thigh. Moreover, the legs of the kite-fighters trousers have sewn in rails. These rails have slightly curved ends, that automatically throw back the already rotating coil. The winding speeds are unbelievable.

During this years International Kite Festivals in Weifang, and Yinchuan, the participants from Hong Kong were the most successful ones. A comment from a unsuspecting, visibly shocked and stunned Sino-American participant, whose fighter kite had been successfully cut: "... they slaughtered everyone, they really slaughtered everyone ...".

Special Reels

Kiting people are definitely concerned about exclusivity. Apart from the completely molded Bronze Reel (only because of the golden colour tone!), the reel has subsequently a full-blown coil with supra-and sub-setting and of course first class ball bearings. For the divinely gifted technology enthusiast, there is of course the bike-reel coil with multi-gear and integrated hand brake. The pictured specimen is from the kite builders village YangJiaBu , and was sold for the equivalent of 20 by a street vendor. Comparing Chinese standards, an expensive pleasure, but you deserve it!

You are just a mouse click away from our  kites and kite accessories. If you want to have personal contact, want to have a personal impression of our kites, just meet us at one of these kitefestivals (just click to see)!

Every year we are making  Kite Journeys  to China. We experience China at its best, and fly your kites on TianAnMen Square or on top of the Great Wall, at the Temple of Heaven, or on Mount TaiShan, or at the shores of the Yellow Sea. During our stay at the Olympic Kite Festivals, we are welcomed guests of visited Cities and Counties. Our kite journeys will lead us towards WeiFang or QingDao and frienly GuiYang (end of April / first week of May). Other kite journeys will lead us to ShenZhen, HongKong and GuangZhou (October).  BeiJing is of cause always part of our trip.

Copyright 2002 ff: Hans P. Boehme