ClockSaturday, 23/03/2024 07:30

Hue dragon kites fly abroad

TTH.VN - Not only well known in the “kite map” as a kite maker whose giant kites have flown in many parts of the world, Nguyen Dang Hoang is also considered a unique kite flier as he has made countless original kites, creating his own brand name “Hoang’s Kite.” Among them, his dragon kite, a symbol of power,_ made with Hoang’s skillful hands then hovered in the sky at shows and international festivals made many people admire.

The place where Southeast Asian kite arts meet and exchangeInternational Kite Festival 2023 to take place from June 3 - 9

 The dragon head made by Excellent Artist Nguyen Dang Hoang. Photo: Phan Thanh

It is hard to count all the dragon kites that followed Hoang on tours around the world. But asked about his most impressive one, he immediately recalls, “It was the dragon kite 150 meters long and 9 kilograms heavy. I flew it in my hometown in front of the Imperial City of Hue at Festival 2002.”

Majestic dragon kites

Taking up this elegant hobby from the age of 12, he is now 46 and has earned the title Excellent Artist in the field of kites. We met him on the last days of the year when he was very busy with making dragon kites for clients from the South and abroad. 

“Besides being flown, the dragon kite can be used for decoration,” said Hoang while bending each bamboo stick. Hoang told us about how he took up making kites. Living in the same street as the kite artisan Nguyen Van Be in Gia Hoi, he saw the man, who later became his master, making kites of various shapes and colors. Hoang was soon tempted without knowing. 

 The dragon kite by Nguyen Dang Hoang. Photo provided by him

After school, Hoang hung around with Be. Seeing his passion, the expert artisan in Hue kites decided to pass on the craft to him. He taught him sophisticated skills, how to calculate wind speeds, length, proportion and kite-flying techniques. Of different kites, the dragon kite is the most difficult to make. It not only takes time but also requires meticulousness in every stage. 

“The bamboo frame must be bent in a way that raises its head; the mouth is wide open showing its sharp teeth; its mane and beard must be long and curved,” said Hoang. The frame is made of lo O, a kind of bamboo, which is flexible with long sections and resistant to termites. Fabric for the kite must be silk, which is both easy to decorate and durable against the wind. The tail is equally important. Its round parts must be arranged properly for balance, charm, and easy transport. 

Different from others, Hoang prefers decorating his kites with the five traditional essential colors: red, yellow orange, green, purple. “The dragon head takes the most time because that important part shows power and strength of the dragon. This stage requires maximum concentration like an artist who paints his work,” compared Hoang. It takes him about 30-40 days to finish a dragon kite. In order for the dragon kite, which is not only heavy but also as long as over a hundred meters, to fly in the sky, the wind must be at least at level 3 or 4, and it needs about 6 people to lift it. 

From homeland abroad 

Every time his beautifully-shaped dragon kite shows up in France, Italy, Turkey, etc., it receives much attention from the circle of kite fliers as well as the public. Every time he flies his kite abroad, he feels so proud. For him it is not only to compete, but also to promote cultural values and the art of Hue traditional “puppetry in the air.”

 Excellent Artisan Nguyen Dang Hoang in traditional ao dai beside the national flag at a kite festival in Italy. Photo provided by the character

An incident that Hoang never forgets happened in France. As soon as he arrived in France, a native stranger came to see him, saying that he wanted to possess the dragon kite that he brought for his show. He agreed, simply thinking that he could use another kite for his competition. But the organizers knew that. They asked Hoang to “redeem” his dragon kite at all costs for the show first, then he could do anything he wanted to later.

“So, I had to go finding the man. He had brought the kite to Paris. But luckily, with my persuasion, he managed to bring it back to lend me the kite for my show.” The unique dragon kite hovering in the sky in France made a big impression on art lovers from all over the world. 

Mr. Le Phung, former Chairman of the Thua Thien Hue Union of Literature and Art Associations, who used to go with Hoang to some kite festivals around the world, has always admires his talent and passion for kites, and above all, his dedication to promoting the Vietnamese culture and Hue culture. On such occasions, Chinese dragon kites appeared, too, but though their kites look sophisticated since they had been made with advanced technology, they were not as attractive as Hue traditional hand-made kites.

“Wherever Hoang goes and performs his dragon kite show, everyone is surprised and admires. They admire his kites for their beauty and are surprised at the fact that despite their big sizes and weights, they can still fly in the air,” Phung recalled.

Story: Nhat Minh
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