Maybe you already saw these bells in movies, mangas, games or anime. The Fūrin (風鈴) is used more often in summer. It is usually hanged under the ceiling or in the front of the house. The name came from “Fu” that means wind and “Rin” that means bell, in Japanese.
These bells are made mostly of glass and iron, with a pendulum inside it. In this pendulum, there is a rope hanging a piece of paper, it allows the pendulum move when the wind hit the paper making a noise soft and pleasant. It is not used only for the decorative purpose, they believe it helps protect the house or the person against evils and scare away evil spirits.
THE STORY ABOUT JAPANESE BELL – FURIN
The wind bell is originally from China. The Chinese used this to make predictions based on the direction of the wind and the sound. These bells were taken to Japan by Buddhists, and it was used to scare evil spirits from the sanctuary. Japanese people believed that nothing bad would happen while the bell was playing. And by making a sound, it was good to scare little animals near the house.
Between 12-17 century, the city and villages were contaminated on a large scale by the plague epidemic. And it is a belief that when happen a strong wind, the epidemic vanishes. But in this age, only nobles family and samurais could have wind bells. It was made of phosphor bronze and consequently expensive. From this time, Furin was used to avoid epidemics and illness.
Only between 18-19 century, these bells started to be made with glass. This technic was introduced by Dutchmen that arrived mainly through the port of Nagasaki. Soon, these glass bells and others products, news on Japan, arrived in big cities, doing great success.
CURIOSITY ABOUT JAPANESE BELLS
An interesting curiosity about these bells is that your painting is made inside, to increase the color durability. Nowadays it is still made by handcraft. Each region does it in a different form, using materials, colors, and styles typical of each Japan area.
If you wish to buy one, it is common in convenience stores. Today, Fūrin is not only used the represent or symbolize protection but also became a decorative item all around the world.