HISTORY OF THAI KITE
The kite is something that Thai of all walks of life are intimate with Children, adults, officials and the king have always enjoyed this popular game. Two well-know kinds of kites, the female kite, Pakpao, and the male kite, Chula, are going to be focused on. This is in light that they are the symbols of Thai art and culture. In the past, kite flying these two kites was very popular among the royalty. As one can witness by the presence of the king in various kite flying occasions.
Kite flying in Thailand originated during the reign of King Sri Indradhitya or Phra Ruang during the Sukhothai Period (1238-1438 AD.)
A kite, which was well known, was "Ngaow" or "Duidui". The kite was flown by the general public in a rite called "Klaeng" as a belief to make a vow for wind or to ask for good luck. It is reasonable to say thai "Ngaow" is the oldest Thai kite. During the Ayutthaya Period (1350-1767 AD.), the Chula kite become popular. It played an important role in warfare. It was once tied with an explosive powder key, with a timing device. The kite then was made to fly over the enemy's camp; it exploded and destroyed the enemy army's base. This eased the operation of the soldiers of Ayutthaya in entering and capturing the area. During the reign of King Phra Buddhachao Sua, besides disguising himself to mingle with his subjects and attend some boxing matches, the king was fond of flying Chula and Pakpao kites with his court officials. The Pakpao kite, hence, has become popular since thai time until the present.
In the Rattanakosin Period, King chulalongkorn took part in kite flying himself. He was very fond of the Chula-Pakpao contest as a number of contests were held at Phra Mearu Ground (Sanam Luang). The king himself presided at this annual event and presented awards to the winners. This was done since the year 1906 until the conculusion of his reign. Therefore, it is known that Thai Chula-Pakpao kites are the only kites in the world that viewers can enjoy their exciting fight.
With this long history, it is clear that the Chula-Pakpao contest is a typical Thai game, and it is held at Sanam Luang in the name of Thai Traditional Sport. Those included in the event are Takraw and Krabi-krabong Thai Chess. Agencies concerned are the Thai Sports Association under His Majesty's Royal Patronage, the Tourism Authority of Thailand and other private as well as government agencies.
1. Kite Structure
The most important aspect of this stage is choosing of the wood. The wood that is widely used is Sisuk bamboo of around 3 years old. The bamboo of this age has good quality and elasticity. Such qualities of the material make it easy for the kite maker to shape the material into any manner he/she wants.
The wood of the first 3 meters of the bamboo trunk is used for the chest part. The wooden part beyond three meters above ground level will be used for the wing and other parts.
HOW TO CHOOSE THE BAMBOO
The trunk of the bamboo that is ideal for kite making must be old enough, and be glazed by sunlight for the whole day.
2. Sharpening and Bending the Wood
Once obtaining the required material, it must be sharpened and bent into different shapes with regard to the kite that it is going to be parts of. There is magical technique to this process of how to bend the bamboo sticks. Palm sugar syrup is one answer to it. Apply this syrup on the sticks; then put over the fire to let the syrup melt, heat the outer surface of the sticks, and warm the inner mass. By doing these procedures, the sticks are tender for bending and last a ling time.
3. Composing the Kite
When all the sticks are prepared they will, then, be tied together to make shape of the kite as planned.
4. Pasting of Papers
The paper that is popularly used is Chinese paper called "Sa" because of its good quality. At present, the paper produced in Thailand is becoming more used.
A simple technique of how to get the work done well, is the time. Paper should be put on the kite's structure in the morning, hence, when the weather becomes warm, the loose paper will become tight and firm.
WEAPONS OF THE KITES
Chula kite: its weapon called "Champa" is stuck on its string. This its used to hook the Pakpao's cord to bring it down.
Pakpao kite: its two-stringed noose is an efficient weapon to capture the Chula kite to loose its balance and plunge down.The cord which is used for the control of the kite is "Pan". It gives an immediate affect to the kite when the flier just tugs it, unlike the nylon in which will be elastic and slow to jerk the kite. The process to make good quality "Pan" is called "Kuad Pan" (tightening pan).
The Chula kite and Pakpao kite in present contest are normally chest-size of above 80 inches and 32.5 inches, respectively.
Kites are made differently into 3 kinds for use according to the conditions of the weather.
1. A hard structured kite , is for a strong wind; it will not fly well and may dive down in the solt breeze.
2. A neutral structured kite can fly well in the average wind.
3. A soft structured kite is more flexible in its structure, so it can easily float in a tender wind.
Therefore, in any kite flying, fliers will get three kinds of kite ready for use in line with the strength of the wind. The number of kites brought to the contest is unlimited. Spare kites and cords are necessary to replace the one that may be broken or flown away during the contest.
Kite flying is a Thai heritage that is to be proud of. Fliers need a high sporting spirit to execute the battle. Rules and regulations of this traditional game have to be abided by. If these things are taken care of, it will be ensured that we tender a great gesture and respect to the Thai ancestors.
* * 6th Thailand International Kite Festival, Muang Thong Thani, Nonthaburi : March 20, 1999
Kite Fighting( Competetion ) link to thaikite.com