Early History of Kites
  The earliest kites, which date from the Warring States Period (BCE 475-221) of the Eastern Zhou (BCE 770-221) Dynasty, were made of wood, and were called mu yuan (wooden kite). Mention of this prototype kite – the "wooden bird" referred to above – stems from an ancient Mozi text (Mozi (BCE 470-391 circa) was a philosopher who lived a century later than Confucius (BCE 551-479) and who opposed the teachings of both Confucianism and Taoism/Daoism... Mohism, or the teaching of Mozi, seems to have been a belief system before its time, for it strikes one as being a thoroughly modern philosophy today) that was documented by another Chinese philosopher – and man of many parts – who was also a contemporary of Mozi, Lu Ban.
  Another source indicates that a paper kite, the zhi yuan, was used as an emergency warning device a millenium later, when the kite was flown in order to appeal for help when the city-state of Nanjing was under seige by Hou Jing (CE ???-552), a Northern and Southern (CE 386-588) Dynasties general who served the Northern Wei (CE 386-533), the Eastern Wei (CE 534-549) and the Liang (CE 502-556) Dynasties, and who was mostly renowned for his exceeding cruelty (he was eventually murdered by his own men during a retreat, who perhaps performed the deed in the hope of being shown leniency by the pursuing enemy).
  It was not until the Tang (CE 618-907) Dynasty that lighter kites made of first silk and then paper (bamboo was a common material used for the ribs) made their appearance. It was at this time that the kite came to transcend its humble military, or functional, origins, becoming a toy, or an instrument of pleasure. It was not long before artisans began to compete in creating the most artistic, the most acrobatic, etc., kites. During the Ming (CE 1368-1644) and Qing(CE 1644-1911) Dynasties, kite making and flying had become an art form, being the object of elaborate and colorful decorations in the form of birds, flowers,...