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Chinese Feng Shui Wind Chimes
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Chinese Feng Shui Wind Chimes

History of Wind Chime

Wind chimes date back to approximately 5,000 years ago, making them one of the world’s first musical instruments. Different cultures worldwide have aided in the development of the modern wind chime. The first evidence of wind chimes was discovered in archeological sites in South East Asia. Historical dating shows that these were created in about 3000 B.C. Early wind chimes were primarily constructed of bone, wood, bamboo, stone, or shells. It is believed that they were used by the primitives as protection against evil spirits. Around 2000 B.C., the ancient Egyptians independently created their own wind chimes, which were primarily constructed of bronze.

The wind chime didn’t find its more modern form until 1100 B.C. when highly skilled Chinese metal workers started casting bells. The first bells were clapper-less and known as yong-zhong. These bells were used during religious ceremonies. Afterwards, the workers created the modern wind chime, or feng-ling. The Chinese believed that wind chimes could ward off evil spirits and attract kind ones. As a result, they were usually hung at shrines, temples, pagodas, and caves. The secular world soon adopted this practice and wind chimes became a common talisman in the home as protection against evil.

During the 1800’s, Asian art began to show a distinct influence in the western world. It was during this time that wind chimes were introduced. Soon, the practice of Feng Shui spread to Europe and America. Feng Shui helped promote the use of wind chimes as a way of bringing peace, luck, and positive energy or chi to the household.

However, wind chimes also had practical uses throughout history. Ancient Celtic tribes used them as protection against their enemies. The sounds produced by the wind chimes were used as a means of tricking their enemies into thinking the territory was haunted. More commonly, wind chimes were used by farmers, sailors, and loggers as a weather forecasting aid. Wind chimes helped indicate wind speed and direction. They would hang several sets of wind chimes to figure out the general direction of the wind, and the rate at which the clappers stroked would indicate the approximate speed of the wind. Farmers also used them to scare birds and other animals from their fields.


Today, American companies are influenced by the eastern cultures when designing their wind chimes. The sounds are influenced by Asian scales, and the artistic designs are influenced by Zen Buddhism and Feng Shui. They are primarily constructed from metal or bamboo in the West. However, some Eastern cultures do use other materials such as glass.

Wind chimes are popular decorations used in homes, gardens, and offices because of their beauty and pleasant sounds. The sounds in particular are said to have healing effects. The relaxing tones release stress, tension, and anger and allow the mind and body to have a moment of peace. For this reason, they are often used in Feng Shui to cure negative energy.

How They Work

There are three basic configurations when it comes to the construction of the wind chime.

1.    A cluster of similar objects hung from a central support that produce sound when pushed against each other by the wind
2.    A cluster of objects including a clapper suspended from the support that produces sound as wind blows against a flat plate or wind catcher at the end of the clapper
3.    A bell with a long clapper attached to a wind catcher that produces sound as the wind pushes the long clapper against the bell

What Chimes are Made of

Traditional wind chimes, also known as percussion wind chimes, are composed of wood and metal. Although they are the simplest in appearance, they require the most precise in design. Wood pieces are used for the support and wind catcher, and metal pipes or tubes are used to produce the sound. Different types of wood made be used; however, no matter what type, the wood must be treated with oil for weatherproofing against wind, sun, temperature extremes, and precipitation. Aluminum is usually the metal of choice.
Novelty wind chimes are those that use beautiful trinkets, such as seashells, decorative metal pieces, glass, or other tinkling objects, in place of traditional tubes. Their supports and clappers also do not follow tradition. The goal is to create something more visually pleasing.
No matter what materials are being used, the goal is high quality sound and durability.

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