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Toys & Play

Butterfly Kite


The Eameses’ kite collection includes numerous butterflies, but this winged insect stands out as a creative invention, not quite recognizable as any particular butterfly, moth, or beetle species. Instead, the creature is an imaginative approximation of all of them. Moreover, while the kite’s colorful decorations clearly reference insect anatomy, at the same time they resemble a collection of paper fans. The pink tassels that dangle below from nearly invisible strings would have helped to stabilize the kite when airborne, and might have impressed the audience on the ground with an illusion of floating. The level of detail and inventiveness seen on this kite suggests a great deal of care and attention on the part of its maker, and it can be taken as an example of the kind of work that Charles had in mind when he observed, “It is the lack of self-consciousness on the part of the real toymaker, his complete involvement with the spirit of the toy, that enables him to take the meanest material and make it sing."

  • Medium:Paper, ink, string, bamboo
  • Dimensions:42 x 18 x 1/2 in. (106.7 x 45.7 x 1.3 cm)
  • Item:T.2019.2.326