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Home » WAKATOBI National Marine Park: the”Underwater Nirwana” » Kaghati Kolope: The Oldest giant Kite in the World

Kaghati Kolope: The Oldest giant Kite in the World

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Overview

In addition to the underwater splendors around the waters of Wakatobi, the province of South East Sulawesi also holds a precious treasure of human history: the Kaghati Kolope, the oldest Kite in the world , created on the island of Muna, located north of Wakatobi.

Kaghati Kolope is a traditional kite originating from the Mabolu Village, in the Lohia District, Muna Regency, in South East Sulawesi, which is believed to have been around for over 4000 years. The existence of this magnificent piece of history was first introduced to the world by a German Consultant for Kite Aerial Photography, by the name of Wolfgang Bieck who purposely researched the kite after a surprising introduction of the Kaghati Kolope in the International Kite Festival in France in 1997.

In his research Bieck found a prehistoric cave, called Liang Kabori. In this cave, located  some 8 kilometers from Raha, capital of Muna Regency, to be reached  via a 5 kilometer off-the-beaten track, heading to an 80 meter high hill with  a 90-degree slope, -  Bieck witnessed an ancient red colored wall painting  portraying a person playing a kite!

Bieck became intrigued when La Masili, one of the kite players participant from Muna Island, Indonesia,  vehemently disagreed with the claim that the oldest kite in the world came from China.  La Masili then showed  him the  Kaghati Kolope, a kite made of kolope, a type of wild cassava leaf found on Muna Island, also known as ‘daun gadung’ (discorea hyspida). He  claimed that this was the oldest kite in the world which had been around for quite a long time.  With the help of local government officials, Bieck made his  research on Muna and here proved that the Kaghati Kolope  was indeed the oldest kite in the world. Bieck’s findings were published in 2003 in an article in a German magazine entitled: The First Kiteman.

There is a legend on Muna which has been passed down for many generations on the existence of the Kaghati Kolepe. It is said that long ago, when Muna Islanders still lived in caves, as well as up in treetops, the leader of the cave dweller, called La Pasin Daedaeno, meditated upon the request from his wife, Wa Nti Wose. After some time, La Pasin Daedaeno dreamt about a prophecy that his wife asked for a type food other than from wild animals. La Pasin Daedaeno then had to sacrifice one of his children and buried him in four different places. On the place where La Rangku, the sacrificed son, was buried a kolope plant grew.

La Pasin Daedaeno believed that the kolope  was created with a heavenly purpose, so that he then made an instrument out of kolope,- the transformation of  his own son, - to fly to the god of Day: the Sun.

A kaghati was then created from kolope, and the term ‘kaghati kolope’ – for kite flying - was introduced and which name has lived on ever since. The kite was probably similar to  the  modern day kites, although the frame and canvas were probably made exclusively from kolope. The string was made of pineapple fiber and woven into strong strings.

Today, kaghati kolope is still played by local farmers immediately after each  harvest. Therefore, it of kite-flying on Muna has been around for 4000 years . is known that the pastime activity. Indeed, the island of Muna has everal times hosted the national kite festival.

To reach Muna Island  it takes a two hour cruise by speed boat from Kendari, capital city of Southeast Sulawesi.

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