History of Ancient Tibetan Singing Bowls
Despite much research, we currently (2021) know little about the traditions that have created and used singing bowls.
There are many precious opinions, stories and myths, but no one has been able to confirm them with certainty.
What we do know is that they have been handmade in Himalayan regions. Mainly in Tibet, Nepal, India, Bangladesh and Bhutan.
All of them are made of an alloy of 5 to 9 metals such as copper, lead, tin, nickel, zinc, iron, silver, mercury and gold.
Each bowl is unique with sounds that attract us by their fundamentals, by the richness of harmonic tones and by the effects they produce on our body and mind on a physical, emotional and energetic level.
The range of shades varies according to size, shape and thickness, bowl structure and, above all, according to the metals and proportions used in the alloy.
By cleaning and restoring them we give value to the wisdom and art of the craftsmen who have created these jewels that contribute so much to our lives.
But it remains a mystery why, who and how they have made them with such precision, knowledge and wisdom and whether there are still masters who keep (something) of this heritage and art.
We are still investigating!
Types of singing bowls
Overview of types of singing bowls
As a help and orientation, we provide you with a SUMMARY of the different types of bowls. What they are usually used for, what they are played with, the different sizes.
It is important to bear in mind that the quality of the sounds depends very much on the use of the right mallets and sticks.
What is each type of bowl used for, what is it played with and what sizes are available?
They are used more for singing, concerts and sound baths and less in vibrational therapies on the body, except at points where vibrations are easily transmitted.. Still, there are some that vibrate more than others. They are rare and usually of medium size.
Thadobati REMUNA / LOTUS
They vibrate and sing easily, and have long, harmonically rich, self-amplifying tones. Highly valued for vibrational therapies, concerts and sound baths. Easy to find in medium sizes.
They vibrate more, which makes them more suitable for They are used in vibrational therapies, apart from their use in concerts and sound baths. Easy to find in medium sizes.
Thadobati WA-WA / DOLPHIN
They are excellent for special effects in concerts, sound baths and therapies.. You can put water in them or bring them close to the mouth to produce sounds similar to dolphin sounds. They are usually medium or small in size and are not very common.
Depending on the specific characteristics of each bowl, they are excellent for concerts and sound baths. They are also used for meditation, inducing relaxation and altering states of consciousness.
When struck with mallets on the outer top, the fundamental note remains balanced and powerful, producing multiple overtones. Rubbing them with the sticks produces warm and enveloping sounds. Depending on the thickness and hardness of the drumstick and the height at which it is played, higher or lower overtones and more or less intense vibrations are produced. They are available in super large, large, medium and small sizes.
Pedestal, goblet or chalice
They have good sonority and are suitable for use in all kinds of therapeutic work and energy cleansing, with the pedestal held in the hand. As well as in concerts and sound baths, placed on a firm surface.. Older bowls are often distinguished from newer bowls by their more stable, cleaner, harmonically rich and longer lasting sounds. They are easy to play with mallets and sticks. They are available in medium and small sizes.
Antique LINGHAM bowls are rare to find and a favourite with collectors. They are available in all sizes.
In the past, they were used mainly in rituals and ceremonies, and today they are used mainly in rituals and ceremonies, are normally used for meditations and concerts.
The sounds of the lingham are different, sweeter, pure and sonorous, sometimes pulsating, and with long duration. They tend to occupy the middle and high octaves, with few overtones.
They are beautiful to use for concerts or sound baths. They are not usually used in therapy as they have little perceptible vibrations.
They tend to sing with peculiar tones, with very high-pitched, penetrating, stable, long-lasting, self-amplifying sine waves. The overtones are usually produced by rubbing with the hard wooden part of the drumsticks.
They are played by striking them on the top of the rim with a medium hard mallet or with the top of the padded leather drumstick. They can also be rubbed with the drumstick, although this is more difficult to make them sound. They are not easy to find and usually come in medium and small sizes.
Depending on their volume or vibrational capacity, they are more suitable for concerts, sound baths and for subtle work in therapies, where they are usually placed on specific parts of the body (hands, head, chakras). Their sounds are expansive.
Because of their small base, small bowls tend to be unstable. If they are so, it is necessary to rest them on the fingers of the hand to play them with a drumstick, with or without leather. They are usually very small to medium sized. Larger ones also exist but are becoming increasingly difficult to find.
They are mainly used for therapy and concerts. They sing for a long time with low sounds and emit strong vibrations. The rarer, older, high quality specimens have more stable and wider sounds and a high range of harmonics. To get a good sound it is advisable to play them with a softer mallet than usual. They are usually found in medium and large sizes.
They are unique, different and hard to find. Shabda's are real jewels!
The sound is concentrated inside the bowl, they usually have few overtones and are self-amplifying. In the past they were used to make offerings and calls for the beginning of the ceremony. Today they are considered collector's or museum pieces and can be used for meditations.
This type of bowl is played only by striking with a medium hard mallet on the top of the rim, just below the termination.