The History of Wind Chimes

Published: 17th May 2011
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Many people nowadays view wind chimes as a purely decorative object, often displayed in a garden or a patio. However, they have a rich history dating back almost five thousand years and being a part of many cultures and generations. They are also considered to be one of the first musical instruments developed in the world and some musicians still use them in particular pieces to this very day.
The very first wind chimes created are thought to have been used by people as a defence against evil spirits. Archaeologists have found evidence of these in South East Asia and have estimated that they could be from as far back as 3000BC, which gives us an idea of how long wind chimes have been a part of the world. It is also thought that farmers also had a practical use for them as an alternative to scarecrows to frighten away birds from their fields of crops.
However the idea of using wind chimes to ward off evil spirits and attract positive spirits has continued to be used throughout the ages. Around 1100BC, the Chinese created a wind bell called the feng-ling, which was hung in various temples, shrines and caves for the exact reason of fighting off evil ghosts or demons and to bring positive energy to the area. Even to this very day this idea is still in practice, especially amongst people who strongly believe in spiritualism. There have even been various stories passed around of wind chimes that have attracted evil spirits instead of fending them off, leading the owners to dispose of them quickly.
It wasn’t until around the 1800s, when wind chimes were properly introduced to the western world, as China and Japan began to have an influence and proposed the idea of displaying them in homes. Feng Shui, the ancient Chinese system of aesthetics, helped to increase the popularity of wind chimes during this time as people thought they were able to produce a positive, calming and relaxing atmosphere from the sounds that were created. This idea has remained to this day, and it is a reason for its current popularity.
It is evident that over the years, wind chimes have had various different uses ranging from fighting off evil spirits and protecting crops to producing positive energy in an environment. Nowadays, they are seen as more of a decorative item but that does not remove its popularity. It is quite astonishing for a creation such as this to have survived all this time and to still serve a purpose, and for that reason alone I can see wind chimes being around for a far greater time to come.

Harry is a freelance architect and has been part of the field for the past ten years. Harry is very passionate about his job and has been involved with several different projects including landscape gardening with the use of strange ornaments such as wind chimes. For further information on any of the topics raised in the article please visit The Wind Chime Shop.

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