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A Hundred Boys Hold Lanterns Kite

A Hundred Boys Hold Lanterns

In the 1980s Kong Lingmin 孔令民 painted this kite on silk. It measures 113 by 117 centimeters. The boys are supporting the nine Chinese dragons. The number nine is considered lucky in China for several reasons. Mathematically it is the most powerful number because it is the largest single number. Nine is associated with imperial power and with heaven. Dragons have nine characteristics, a dragon has nine children, and when depicted, there are nine dragons shown on imperial walls. Lesser numbers are allocated to lesser mortals. Early lore described four dragons, but over time the number increased to harmonize with other folk traditions.


Last update: June 2008
© Marilyn Shea, 2008