Saturday, 15 December 2007

New York Times: Afghan Kites

Image © Tomas Munita/NY Times-All Rights Reserved

From Afghanistan, The New York Times brings us Tomas Munita's photography in a (too) short slideshow titled Back In The Air.

Kite-flying is a traditional pastime in Afghanistan, however it was banned during the Taliban’s rule. Now, flying kites is once again the main recreational escape for Afghan boys and some men. It still remains largely off limits to girls and women. The big kite-fighting day is Friday, the Muslim day of prayer, and the objective of the kite fight is to slice the other flier’s string with one's own, essentially disabling it from flying. Kite-fighting string is coated with a resin made of glue and finely crushed glass, which turns it into a blade.

With the release Friday of the film “The Kite Runner,” based on the best-selling novel of the same name, a much wider audience will be introduced to Afghan kite culture.

Kites were invented in China some 2800 years ago, and its use migrated to Japan, Korea, Burma, India, Arabia, and North Africa, then farther south into the Malay Peninsula, Indonesia, and the islands of Oceania as far east as Easter Island. In Bali, annual kite-flying festivals draw teams from all over the country to compete.

Tomas Munita's photographs of Afghan kites on Back In The Air