Wind Chimes and Korean Culture
Korea is situated on a peninsula between the powerful China and highly developed Japan, Korea has been a cultural cross roads since the time immemorial. The style of Korean handicrafts is reflective the country's unique cultural heritage and close ties with surrounding nature.
Traditional Korean wind chimes (풍경) are made of copper and bronze and are basically smaller versions of the multi-ton sounding bells found in mostly Buddhist temples throughout the country. In fact, one of the easiest ways to find Korean wind chimes is by visiting a the Korean temple. Wind chimes and a common decorative element hung below the cascading eves, and are sold by temples as souvenirs to raise funds and beleive to keep away from the evil spirits and bring fortunes.
The sail used on traditional Korean wind chimes is usually a piece of copper fashioned into the shape of a fish. Fish never stop moving and this is a very symbolic meaning. A characteristic much revered by Buddhists as it symbolizes their constant earthly struggle to reach Nirvana.
Modern manufacturing techniques have given rise to an increasing assortment of wind chimes manufactured in Korea. They are sold alongside wind chimes imported from other countries at festivals and handicraft markets across the country. Insadong is the place to go in capital city of Seoul. An arts and entertainment district tucked up against the mountains, Insadong is a feast for the senses, and a veritable shopping paradise for the wind chime collector.
Those visiting the Korean port city of Incheon (about an hour drive from Seoul) will want to drop by the Word Ceramic Center, the fitting home of the world's largest ceramic wind chime.