Collection Name: bill lockhart Collection
Collection Number: 598
Post Type: Kite object or Accessory
This item was entered by Matthew Sutton. They assume full responsibility for all content.
Thai traditional Chula Kite. Single line. Not full size paper, bamboo and foil. White, red.
From Ron Spaulding:
After he landed in thailand, he started to immerse himself in the local kite scene. He met many kite fliers and learned about Thai kites from different regions. What impressed him most were the Chula and Pakpao kites common among people in the Central Plains region.
He enthusiastically explained that the Chula and Pakpao kites are based on a combination of features from Indonesian, Malayan and Chinese kites. Flown together, the Chula kite must be completely controllable so that it can catch the straying Pakpao kite and bring it back to its own territory. The Chula has to be big, powerful, light and delicate, able to go left, right, up and down on demand.
"The longer I stay in thailand, the more I learn abou Thai and Asian kites. In the 1980s, the Western world didn't know about Thai kites because nobody was talking about them," Spaulding said.
He subsequently co-organized the first international kite festival in thailand. He also inititated the Thai Kite Herritage Group, a team of Chula-Pakpao kite fliers that venture overseas to let the world see for themselves the pride of Thai kites.
He first met members of the future group at the Singapore Asian Kite Festival back in 1986. They were standing at the end of the flying field with their big star-shaped Chula and small, diamond-shaped Pakpao kites on the ground.
"I walked down to say hello to the men and asked them why they weren't flying their kites," he recalled. The demoralised fliers told him that nobody was paying attention to them - no one wanted to watch their kites.
After some discussion, Spaulding learned that most kite watchers prefer beautiful, well-decorated pieces, whereas the Thai Chula and Pakpao kites were simple white paper on fragile bamboo structures. They were not kites designed for aesthetics: they were competition machines.
Kite Type: Figure, Flat
Materials: Bamboo, Paper
Significance: Cultural, Sport
Images: (Click to open in viewer.)