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In a way, kite can be seen as one of the symbol of the Chinese culture. Coming to Beijing, you cannot afford to miss the Three Stone Kite shop ¨C one of the most famous kite shops in China.
A Great Reputation
Medias reported several times about this family workshop. The owners have been dedicated to kite art for over 100 years. The youngest generation is the fourth to perpetuate the tradition.
It¡¯s said that the earliest aircraft in human history is Chinese kite. Kites art in China has been around for over 2,000 years. Constant creation and development have gotten lovers of the craft the best techniques for making kites.
Pass the entrance door, and it feels like entering kite heaven. On the walls, floor, shelves, all kinds of kites occupy the space. Though the shop is filled with hundreds of them, it doesn¡¯t feel cluttered. Big kites are hung at the top of the wall, small ones underneath. White walls set off the colorful kites well. Packaged kites are displayed on the shelves. Kites already mounted lie on the floor.
All the kites are made of thin silk and patterns are hand-drawn. Colors are bright and the shapes are as diverse as interesting to observe
Learn from the Youngest Generation
The two young sisters who hold the fort have fine and delicate features. The elder one, Lei, said to me proudly: ¡±We are the fourth generation of San Shi Kites. All the kites here are made by our family members.¡± Indeed, this family is kind of a legend. The founder of the shop used to build imperial kites for the Qing Dynasty. The family¡¯s unique techniques are have been passed on from generation to generation for over a hundred years. No wonder their production has such a good reputation.
In addition to the superb skills inherited from her family, Mrs. Zhang also has a strong educational background. She can speak English well enough to tell you the story of the craft.
Besides their gorgeous appearance, the San Shi kites have another outstanding characteristic: every kite is easier to fly, and less likely to be ruined by bad weather. ¡±Many kites sold on the market can¡¯t fly¡±, Lei told me, ¡°but ours are guaranteed to fly easily¡±.
The shop has been awarded the title of ¡°Familial art museum¡± by the government. They have represented China in international kite contests in numerous occasions. Their production is exported to many countries.
Prices range from RMB 100 to RMB 10,000. The majority lie between RMB 200 and RMB 400.