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Kite maker preserves cultural heritage for decades

chinadaily.com.cn| Updated: July 21, 2023 L M S


Shao Guoqiang, a 85-year-old kite artisan, teaches children kite-making techniques at a kite exhibition held in Ningbo, Zhejiang province. [Photo/Ningbo Daily]

Driven by his love for kite making, Shao Guoqiang, an 85-year-old artisan in Ningbo, Zhejiang province, has spent over 20 years making hundreds of kites.

"When I was a child, I liked to watch other children flying kites," said Shao, who began learning to make kites in 1998 after retiring. "The first kite I made was a butterfly-shaped kite. Flying it gave me immense joy."

Since then, Shao has been dedicated to perfecting his kite-making technique. He is skilled at making centipede-shaped kites, which are considered the most difficult type of kite to make. The largest centipede-shaped kite that he has made is 56 meters in length with over 80 segments. It debuted at the Ningbo Kite Competition in 2004, and led to Shao being called the "King of Kites" by locals.

In 2009, Shao was named an inheritor of Ningbo's intangible cultural heritage items. To promote the technique, the elderly man started a kite-making class at a local school.

"I will keep making kites for the rest of my life," said Shao.

A kite exhibition displaying Shao's creations has recently kicked off in Zhuangqiao Subdistrict. Shao is also teaching basic kite-making techniques to children at the exhibition.