Although the wind chime (or wind bell) has existed from pre-historic times in many cultures, it received its greatest development in east and south Asia, from Bali to Tibet and Japan where it was often elaborately decorated, cast or carved and hung from the eaves of sacred structures. Buddhists especially made use of wind chimes attaching them by the hundreds and thousands to the eaves of temples, shrines and pagodas, causing during breezy moments an almost overwhelming volume of noise.
In Asia and also the ancient Mediterranean, wind chimes served to attract beneficent spirits. In China and Japan they are known as feng-ling and furin respectively - literally wind bell. They became a decorative art on private homes as well as on sacred structures, and in the 19th century and 20th century their popular use spread more widely among western countries. Wind chimes are also greatly used by people who follow the art of feng-shui.