Fūrin (Wind-chime) - Perfume Story

Fūrin (Wind-chime)

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Fūrin (Wind-chime)

China, the Origin of Wind-chimes

image101116_02.jpgChina is the origin of wind-chimes, of which the oldest in the Xia Dynasty, (18th century B.C.) was discovered. Bronze bells were hooked on and hanging down from the eaves to remove the negative vibes from home with ring of the bell. The bells are called as Fūtaku in Japan, which you can see hanging down from the four corners of temples and towers.

Fūtaku came down to Japan in the 7th century

Fūtaku came down to Japan from China, and was used as a lucky charm to ward off evils. The Fūtaku used by temples in the 7th century are in existence. It is Hounen (1133 - 1212) who renamed Fūtaku to "Fūrei (for which same Chinese letters were used for Fūrin but read as Fūrei in those days)" in the Kamakura Era. In the "Hounen Shonin Gyojo Ezu (Illustrations of Buddhistic Holly Priest Hounen's Biography), you will see that Fūrei is hooked on and hanging down from the eaves of the temple.

Hounen Shonin Gyojo Ezu (Illustrations of Buddhistic Holly Priest Hounen's Biography)

"Hounen loved and brought Fūrei with him to everywhere he visited, because he wished to hear wind blowing through the trees of seven jewels in heaven and longed for sounds of ripples in the Hakkudokuchi (the pond which filled with eight good actions in heaven)...," said Hounen. Fūrei bells served as equipment to replicate sounds of the Pure Land in the Impure World by ringing. This indicates that Japanese in those days had an exquisite sense of hearing and appreciated sounds in the nature.

As a seasonal tradition in summer

Fūrei used to use throughout four seasons in ancient times. It was recreated as a seasonal tradition in summer, i.e. Fūrin. Glass Fūrin became widespread in the latter half of the Edo era. It is said that glassworks artisans in Nagasaki disseminated it nationwide. Fūrin became a very popular and necessary item for Edo (current Tokyo) citizens to 'ward off' summer heat instead of evils. In 11th year of Bunsei (1828), Kagaya, a trading company in Edo, run the first advertisement of Fūrin in its brochure of glass products called Hikifuda.

Hikifuda of glass products

Glass Fūrin fascinated Edo citizens with its shiny appearance and soothing chimes. That was the moment when "Edo Fūrin" was established and become the best partner of natural breeze.

No sales pitch but many buyers; Fūrin dharma emerges from its famous chime.
This Kyoka (satirical poem) depicted a Fūrin street vendor in the end of the Edo era.
It is interpreted that Fūrin chimed in a gentle wind, so that the vendor had no need to pitch the whole time.
Generally, Fūrin is shaped like a small bell. In the bell, there is a part called as Zetsu (a tongue), which has a small hole. A thread is passed through the hole, and a strip of paper is tied at the end of the thread. When wind blows against the strip of paper, the Zetsu hit the bell part which makes a cool and soothing sound.
Edo Fūrin

image101116_01.jpgEdo Fūrin is one of more than 200-year old traditional craftsmanship. Glass Fūrin is made by the traditional free-blowing method without casting. Molten glass is inflated and shaped at the one end of a blowpipe into a desired shape. It takes at least a decade for glassblowers to obtain an artisanal skill that they can make every Fūrin same size and evenly thick (about 1 mm). There is only one Fūrin manufacturer in this century.

TOPICS: Japan, a country richly endowed with natural rustling music

Japanese best hundred soundscapes
In 1996, the Ministry of the Environment publicly solicited soundscapes which should be handed down from generation to generation, and chose the Japanese Best Hundred Soundscapes. From Hokkaido to Okinawa, a broad array of sounds are selected and certified as worth preservation, including bell sounds, birds' songs, chirps, waves, sounding sands, festival musics and so on.
  The iron Fūrin of the Mizusawa Station, Iwate prefecture, was chosen as the soundscope of the hometown of Nanbu ironware.
  The Japanese archipelago has been rich in soundscopes since ancient times, because there have been beloved by many people.

Surrounded by songs of autumn insects,
In the midst of three fields
At the foot of Mt. Iwate,
I am just humble to their beauty
by Takuboku Ishikawa(Japanese Poet)

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This page contains a single entry by administer published on November 9, 2010 9:13 PM.

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