Wind chimes have been a part of civilization for thousands of years. Over time, wind chimes have found many purposes in their use. The most significant purposes being spiritual and agricultural. Wind chimes were mainly used in Asia and the eastern Mediterranean areas in ancient times for these purposes. Today, there are people who collect wind chimes for their artistic and musical qualities.
Wind chimes have held a purpose in civilization since ancient times. Archaeologists have found wind chimes made of shell and bone at digs in Southeast Asia. Chinese artisans perfected the tone of bronze to create metal wind chimes in the time around 1100 BC. The Chinese, who believe that wind chimes help create a connection between the body and nature, used wind chimes in the arrangement of objects to create harmony; this today is known as feng shui. Types of wind chimes have been found in both Greece and Egypt.
Buddhist monks incorporated wind chimes into rituals early in their history. Asian temples, shrines and pagodas had many chimes hung from timbers. These chimes were thought to ward off evil, while attracting peaceful spirits. In modern times, the wind chime is found hung in doorways and windows to protect the home from bad luck and evil spirits.
Before modern meteorology and weather forcasting, wind chimes were an early warning system to detect changes in the air. Farmers and ship captains used wind chimes to detect changes in wind speed and direction, and the onset of potential storms.
Another use of wind chimes by farmers is to keep away birds and pests by the sudden sounding of the chimes. Fields of corn and rice have wind chimes scattered throughout to keep the crops from being eaten. Bali farmers use bamboo wind chimes.
With the modern methods of precision tuning and materials, wind chimes have also taken on a decorative purpose. Today wind chimes are constructed from materials such as wood, metal, glass and ceramic. Wind chime manufacturers have found ways to develop precision-tuned musical chimes that ring in various pitches. Cultural chimes akin to Japanese, Hawaiian and Balinese can also be found.