Monday, March 30, 2015

Kite Festival in Hermann Park

“For once you have tasted flight, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return.” – Leonardo da Vinci

This past Sunday was magical day in Hermann Park as thousands of kite enthusiasts of all ages came together for the Second Annual Houston Kite Festival.  There is something so surreal about watching thousands of ribbons, tissue, paper, and string lift into the air. As they bob and dive, you almost forget that YOU are holding the string. 

Kites have a long and rich history with the first written documentation being around 200BC in China when General Han Hsin of the Han Dynasty used a kite to measure the distance necessary to dig a tunnel from his army to inside the walls of an enemy castle. From China, the love of kites spread and discovered a wide variety of uses.  In 7th century Japan, monks flew kites to avert evil spirits; in 15th century India,  kites aided lovers in delivering secret messages. The Italian explorer Marco Polo carried stories of kites from the East back to Europe. And we all know about the fateful kite and key that led to the discovery of electricity by Benjamin Franklin.

Ode to Nasa

Kite Enthusiasts of all ages

The depiction of kites has been seen in Eastern and Western art alike. One of my favorite prints from the Edo period shows a countryside with fluttering kites with strings leading to unknown owners:
Utagawa Hiroshige II. "View of Akiba and Fukuroi-kite" (Enshû Akiba takkei Fukuroi-dako) from the series One Hundred Views of Famous Places in the Provinces (Shokoku meisho hyakkei), ca. 1859-1864. Color woodblock print, aiban, 13 in. x 9 in. Japanese Prints and Drawings: 1615-1912, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (94). (LC-USZC4-8505)

Lastly, I’ll leave you with a video of an installation by contemporary artist Jacob Hashimoto who has used kite design in his artistic practice for over a decade to create ethereal installations and sculptural paintings.

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