Friday, 17 June 2011


Wau  (pronounce as ‘wow’) can appear in all shapes and size but the most popular and famous kite is the moon kite (wau bulan) and cat kite (wau kucing) in the east coast.Kite making requires patience and tremendous skill. Bamboo will be cut and make into the frame or skeleton of the kite. The best time to cut the bamboo is in November or December and this will be kept for 10 months before it is split and soaked in water followed by heated to straighten and toughen. On the other hand, designs are traced on a tinted and shiny glazed paper and then carefully cut out and pasted on paper which is glued to the bamboo skeleton. The designs are normally flowers with vines which signifies women (flower) and man (vine), eg. if the flowers are in bud form, it symbolizes a young woman etc. In some older designs, flowers were drawn from the side and back to represent the shy and reserved personality of female in those days whereas for the vines, the more meandering the vines, the more twists and turns in a man’s life. There are also waus that are made using the batik technique or painted by batik artists and the designs are always more creative and less formalized by tradition.It is never an easy job to fly a Wau kite into the sky. A traditional Wau can be as big as 3.5m in height and 2.5 m wing span and usually needs the help of a group of person to bring it to the sky. In a windy day, a Wau can fly up to 450m into the sky. To choose a good kite, you should look at the harmonious colours matched and the flowers as well as the vines drawn which represent the inner state of the kite maker.

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