Water and land-based puppetry appear all over Vietnam but “in-air puppetry”can only be found in Hue. By visiting Hue in summer, you can watch a puppet-show at Ngo Mon Square, the Flag Tower or on the beaches of Hue to experience the beauty of Hue’s kites.
Hue’s kites harmonize all kinds of colors and shapes such as butterfly, phoenix, dragon, centipede, frog, horse and airplane. Each kite has its own beauty, form, size and cost. The uniqueness of Hue’s kites is expressed in the themes and performing arts. Artisans not only let the kites fly high and freely upon the sky, but also deftly control them with strings to create and vibrant and lively display of topics such as dragon versus phoenix, double phoenix, Son Tinh – Thuy Tinh (the Mountain Spirit – the Sea Spirit) and phoenix giving birth. These performances turn kite flying into in-air puppetry.
Hue’s kites have boughtfame to Vietnamese kites through domestic and international kite festivals. In 1992, in the French – Vietnamese Cultural Festival, it was the first time Vietnamese artisans were invited to fly kites in France and they immediately drew the attention ofall guests. A French journalist compared the art of Hue’s kite flying with “in-air puppetry”.
International kitelfiers in Hue
Two years later, after success in the 1994 French – Vietnamese Cultural Festival, the International Kitefliers Association officially invited Hue’s artisans to Diepe International Kite Festival in Norman die (France). Two years later, Hue’s kites proudly appeared at Normandie beach in the 9th International Kite Festival. Since then, Hue’s kites keep showing up in America (Canada), Europe (France), Asia (Thailand) and in kite performances and exhibitions of 9 Asian countries: Japan, South Korea, China, Thailand, Singapore, North Korea, Malaysia, Myanmar and Vietnam.
The Imperial Citadel of Hue was the place of many pastimes such as composing poems, playing bai choi (Central Vietnam’s folk art) or listening to Hue’s songs. Whilst these provide interest to the participants, kite flying brings joy to everyone. Kite flying artisans meet the needs and interest of audiences of thousands. Hue’s kites have existed for over one hundred years and remain a unique cultural feature of Hue.