Chinese butterfly kites are some of the most popular kites in the world. Historically these kites were made by hand thus ensuring that no two kites were exactly the same. Prior to being mass-produced, mainly children made the kites with the help of their parents to create a unique design. Traditionally they were made with bamboo rods and sails made of silk. These kites are conventionally used to decorate the home. The symbol of the butterfly, representing a long life, is very important in Chinese culture. The word butterfly translates to the word hu-tieh, with the word tieh translating to mean seventy years, and thus a long life.
There are many kites built in Weifang, but the most popular kite is the centipede kite with dragon-like heads. The symbol of the centipede represents the concepts of harmony and unity through the many inner-connecting parts. The Chinese mythology denotes the characteristic of wisdom and strength to the dragon. The dragon is also a symbol of dignity for the Chinese people. The centipede kites from Weifang show the city’s traditional beliefs and ideas. Centipede kites are particularly special to the artisans of Weifang with patterns handed down from generation to generation, which makes for an incredible, beautiful, unique craft.