Wind chimes have a long and varied history. Their development spans cultures, continents and uses. As one of the world's first musical instruments, wind chimes have long been known for their soothing, meditative and sometimes earthly sounds. As a result of their unique sound, wind chimes have served as a way of shaping the atmosphere of natural environments for millennia.
The wind chime can trace its lineage back almost 5000 years.
The first evidence of wind
chimes, found at archeological
sites in South East Asia, dates them to about 3000 B.C.
Primitive constructions of bone, wood or bamboo, stone or shells, the
chimes were thought to be used
to ward off evil spirits. However evidence exists that wind
chimes had a more practical use as well; digs in Bali, Indonesia show
that farmers used the sound wind chimes and wind clappers make to scare
birds and other animals from their cultivated fields. By 2000
B.C. the wind chime had been developed independently along the shores
of the Mediterranean and was being cast in bronze by the ancient
It wasn't until around 1100 B.C., when the Chinese started casting
bells, that the wind chime found its more modern, musical and artistic
evolution. Highly skilled metal workers created the
forefather of the wind chime, a clapper-less bell called yong-zhong,
which was used as an accompaniment for religious ceremonies.
After that the Chinese developed what is essentially the modern wind
bell, called the feng-ling. This they hung from the eaves of
shrines, temples, pagodas and in caves as wind bells were considered
religious talismans thought to repel evil demons and ghosts and attract
benevolent spirits. This practice was adopted in the secular
world and wind chimes became common adornments in the home as a way to
protect against spiteful supernatural influences.
The use of wind chimes in the home spread from China to Japan and from
there to the western world in the 1800's when Asian art, design and
philosophy started to show a distinct influence in Europe and
America. The practice of feng-shui helped to spread the
knowledge of a wind
calming and balancing influence in the home. An ancient
system of using arrangement maximize the flow of life energy, or Chi,
feng-shui often uses wind chimes as a means of shaping an environment
and influencing chi. The tones and materials of a particular
wind chime can affect energy and change the mood and feeling of a
From uses in pagodas to ward of evil
spirits to their employ by ancient
Celtic tribes as a means of tricking their enemies into thinking the
woods were haunted, the wind chime has had long and diverse role
throughout history. In its modern incarnation the wind chime
is a wonderful accent to any home or garden. The soothing
tones echo the music of the breeze and bring a relaxed, meditative
feeling to an environment; creating a place of peace and balance.