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The Full Entire History Of Memorial Wind Chimes

Updated: Mar 13

Did you know that the dangling memorial wind chimes that we so lovingly hang at our home patios actually embody a rich history that dates back thousands of years?

Wind chimes have a past deeply embedded with various cultures, beliefs, regions, and uses.

In fact, archaeologists believe that the first-ever wind chime originated almost 5000 years ago. It was created to ward off evil spirits.

Let’s take a trip down the memorial wind chime lane to understand how, why, and from where these beautiful adornments came into being.


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The Birthplace Of Memorial Wind Chimes

South-east Asia is considered the birthplace of wind chimes.

Although the wind chimes today are incredibly soothing to the ears; their sounds back then weren’t too pleasant. Early wind chimes didn't have any specific sounds.

Lack of proper tools, preparation techniques, and consistency in creation meant the chimes were a combination of contrasting and somewhat unpleasant ‘noise’.

The First Ever Windchime

The first wind chimes are thought to have been found in 3000 BC in China. They were created using mostly organic materials.

Resultantly, the following objects came into existence:

  • Bone wind chimes

  • Wooden wind chimes

  • Bamboo wind chimes

  • Shells wind chimes

Eventually, when metal became common, these metal wind chimes were supplemented with several crafted embellishments.

The Introduction of Fenglings: Modern Wind Chimes

In 1100 BC, the introduction of tubular bells was a game-changer for wind chimes.

The earliest modern wind chimes came into being in China and were referred to as Feng-lings (a bell without a clapper used in religious ceremonies).

Chinese people usually use them to maximize the flow of chi, increase life’s energy, dissuade bad luck from a house and attract peaceful spirits.

Roman Wind Bells - Tintinabulum

Soon after the Fenglings, Roman wind bells known as tintinnabulum were introduced.

Although this tintinnabulum was not a wind chime exactly, it could be set into motion by wind and was often used for similar purposes.

These Roman wind bells were crafted from bronze and often depicted phallus shapes and traditional bells. They were thought to ward off the evil eye and bring good fortune to its user, and therefore, gained fame quickly.

Netherland Wind Chimes

In the 2nd century AD, wind chimes were introduced in Netherland. The Dutch also added glass in their construction projects.

When the Dutch inaugurated glass wind chimes in other countries, their wealth and power multiplied in no time.

For the world, this was something new, and it gained popularity in a short period.

Japanese Wind Chimes

A Japanese wind chime or ‘furin’ is a small bell found hanging from the lobbies and balconies of houses in summer. Most furins/Japanese wind chimes are composed of three parts:

  • Gaiken (a bell-shaped exterior)

  • Zetsu (the bell clapper)

  • Tanzaku (colored strips of paper that flutter with summer breeze)

Japanese wind chimes have a deep connection with an ancient Chinese fortune-telling tool known as the ‘senfutaku’. About 1200 years ago, during the Heian, these senfutaku were introduced in Japan, especially in the Buddhist temples.

Often found in the forests, they are hung from bamboo stalks, and the sounds produced by them are thought to be interpreted as good or bad fortune.

Additionally, they are not only used as protective charms but also to promote a sensation of coolness during the hot and humid summer season.

Technology Ensures Progress

With the passage of time, civilizations made changes in the creation of a memorial wind chime.

New materials and formation methods were introduced, and this continued to update the wind chime outlook. As people understood melodies, they began to pair similar sounds together to create fusions.

Consequently, these new and unique memorial wind chimes were not just pleasant to the eyes, they were music for the ears too.

Parting Thoughts

Many cultures from China to America, Canada and Japan to Tibet have admired wind chimes since prehistoric times.

They have used these wind chimes to scare away evil spirits and attract wealth and prosperity.

Whether you are also a firm believer of the wind chime abilities or are simply looking for something to liven up your home space, some creative memorial wind chimes might just be what you need.

Fox Brae Memorial Wind Chimes has an extensive range of premium quality metal wind chimes that you can design with personal preferences in mind. Yes, that’s right! select your, tube finish, size of wind chime and customize it with a personalized engraving, this make for a wonderful personalized gift

So, what are you waiting for?