|Kong Xiangze 孔祥泽 painted this and the next miniature kite in the 1950s. It measures only 14 by 20 centimeters. Kong Xiangze specializes in the Cao style of kite making. It was handed down by Cao Xueqin (1715-1764) of the Qing Dynasty who wrote a book on kite making. Cao Xueqin is famous for his novel A Dream of Red Mansions, the Qing Dynasty classic of young love between Jia Baoyu and Lin Daiyu.
The story is that Cao Xueqin was approached by a friend of his who had fallen on hard times. His friend asked Cao to teach him to make kites. Cao agreed and later his friend returned to his own village. A couple of years later, Cao Xueqin was passing through the village and stopped to see his friend. The friend had become a successful kite maker and was able to support his family and pay his debts. Cao decided then to write a book on making kites as a way to help others who needed a skill. He saw it as a much better way to help people in trouble rather than just giving them money. A skill allows people to help themselves and make their own lives better. Kong Xiangze also wrote a book on kite making and passed his skill on to his son.
Last update: June 2008
© Marilyn Shea, 2008