The Has’ Kites
Flying kites during the Tomb-sweeping Festival in early April has long been a popular folk custom in Beijing and its vicinity. Among all the schools of kites in Beijing, those made by the Ha family have enjoyed incomparable popularity both home and abroad with their ingenious craftsmanship and artistic design. As one of the most important school of Beijing kites, the Has’ kites have gone through four generations by now, with their reputation felt in the time-honored and still popular saying “Black Furnace Bottom in the north of the city and Slender Swallows in the south”, the latter referring to the slender-swallow kites the Has are famous for. As stated in Chronicles of Liulichang by Sun Dianqi in 1939, the Has kites, with the store located in Beiren Weiguan, in the middle road of Liulichang, have been the most fabulous and popular in recent decades. They have evolved into a representative exquisite folk craft of Beijing with distinctive features among all the categories of kites from a seasonal plaything where livelihood of the whole family lied in the past one century over the four generations.

Splitting bamboo.

Shaping bamboo by baking.

Gluing the tail.

painting motifs.

Classic Kites by Ha Yiqi
Born in 1954 in Beijing, Ha Yiqi is the fourth-generation inheritor of the Has kites. Having engaged in this handicraft for more than three decades, Ha has innovatively introduced the advantageous kite-making concepts into his own practice as early as the 1980s and crafted a series of three-dimensional kites with abnormal shapes, on the basis of the inheritance of traditional distinctive features and cultural connotations of the Has kites. In recent years, he has designed and created a batch of kites combing traditional patterns and new, modern shapes, as well as modern forms and traditional motifs, and also started to explore on miniature kites.

Ha Yiqi is assembling and tying a kite frame.

Slender-swallow-shaped Kite with Nine Dragons. This kite is in a slender-swallow shape, a common category of the swallow-shaped kites, and features nine awe-inspiring curled dragons flying in clouds along its outline. In the Chinese culture, “nine” is seen as a sacred and auspicious number symbolizing endlessness and supremacy, while the dragon is a legendary and mythological animal that is acknowledged as the head of all beasts.

Ten-thousand Fortunes on Floating Clouds. Given the homonym of “bat” and “fortune” in the Chinese language, this crafter applied motifs of dozens of bats in various forms flying around ink clouds onto a traditional swallow-shaped kite to express wishes for the omnipresence of fortunes in the world. Those bats showing themselves around the wings and legs of the swallow are of distinctive features and ingenious craftsmanship.

Black Furnace Bottom. Such swallow-shaped kites were often painted black all over with furnace bottom ashes as pigment for that the kite crafters lived a very poor life in the past. Hence the name.

Hundred Fortunes Coming Together. This kite adopted the pattern of bats, a symbol of good luck seen by the Chinese people due to the homonym of “bat” and “fortune” in the Chinese language, biting traditional Chinese “Good Luck Knots” painted in a joyful and enthusiastic array of colors to visualize wishes as conveyed in the four-character Chinese idiom meaning “hundred fortunes coming together”.

Bronze Swallow. By innovatively combining the shape of swallows and the traditional motifs on bronzeware, this kite creates a distinctive visual and decorative effect.

Great Fortunes as Vast and High as Heaven. Both the outline of this kite and the bat motifs on it are composed of straight lines, constituting an innovation in the shaping and embellishment of kites.

Double-happiness. This kite falls into the multiple-wing category derived from traditional hard-wing kites. Featuring plum blossoms, orchids, bamboo and chrysanthemums, the renowned “Four Gentlemen” of plants, as well as beautiful flowers of peony, Chinese roses, narcissus, lotus, primroses, etc., this kite has been endowed with blessings for happiness, wealth and good luck for all families.

Bald Eagle. Featuring a bold eagle with stretched wings, this soft-wing kite was crafted in a life-like fashion with clearly-illustrated feathers and a three-dimensional head as well as claws.

Purple Phoenix and Butterflies. This kite combining features of phoenix and butterflies realized an exaggerated deformation based on a life-like illustration of phoenix and butterflies.

Red Parrot. This parrot kite looks extremely vivid with the meticulous brushwork and an eye-catching beautiful color palette. The application of the unique “split-tip brush creating hairs as thin as silk” painting technique of the renowned kite-making family —the Has, resulted in life-like feathers on the parrot.

Bagua. Invented by Fuxi, the first of the Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors of ancient China in Chinese legends and mythology, bagua are eight trigrams representing the fundamental principles of reality. Each of the trigrams consists of three lines, broken or unbroken, representing yin and yang respectively. This bagua-themed kite features the motif of bats, an auspicious symbol of good fortune in the Chinese culture, in each of its eight corners, and two fish in the center, symbolizing yin and yang.

Nine Generations Living Under One Roof (design drawing). Legend has it that when the hairs of two playing lions, a male and a female, intertwine into balls, baby lions come into being. Featuring nine lions based on the homonym of “nine lions” and “nine generations” in Chinese, this kite is intended to illustrate a family of nine generations living under one roof, conveying the wishes for endless continuation of families and prosperity for society.

Slender-swallow-shaped Kite with Nine Bats (design drawing). This kite features nine bats in different colors based on the “bat” and “luck” homonym to visualize the popular saying in the capital city Dongjing of the Song dynasty (960-1279 AD) “there are nine places in the world with each blessed with one kind of luck” as recorded in the book Qing Yi Lu by Tao Gu (903-970 AD).

Angry at Late-coming Fortunes (design drawing). With the motif of bats signifying “fortune coming” based on the “bat” and “fortune” homonym, this kite illustrates a scene of Zhong Kui, the legendary figure in Chinese mythology known for the ability of subduing all evil beings, with his one hand pointing to the bats angrily while the other holding a sword, reprimanding the bats, or fortunes, for late coming.

Clock-shaped Flat Kite (design drawing). This kite adopted the shape of a traditional copper clock for its main body. What’s atop the clock is a “pulao”, namely, a baby dragon with one body but two heads, one of the nine sons of the dragon in Chinese mythology. Known for their love of roaring by nature, pulaos are commonly-seen ornaments on clocks in ancient China.

China Intangible Heritage Industry Alliance
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