History of Tibetan singing bowls

History of Tibetan singing bowls

Despite much research, at present (2021) we 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 with an alloy of between 5 and 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 a physical, emotional and energetic level, in our body and mind.

The range of tones varies according to the size, shape and thickness, structure of the bowl and, above all, according to the metals and the 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 if, there are still masters who keep (something) of this heritage and art.

We continue to investigate!

Types of Tibetan singing bowls

 

Lingham

Pedestal

Thado Buddha

cuenco tibetano antiguo calidad

Thado Delfín wha - wha

Mani

Remuna

Thado lotus

Hand-carved Antique Bowl

Manipuri

Shabda

Ultibati

Figuras arte budista e hindu Nepal

Tibetan shaman offering

 

As 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, and the different sizes.

It is important to keep in mind that the quality of the sounds depends a lot on the use of the right mallets and sticks.

What is each type of bowl usually used for, what is it played with and what sizes can we find?

Thadobati

 Thadobati ORIGINAL

They tend to be used more for singing, concerts and sound baths and less in vibrational therapies on the body, except in points where vibrations are easily transmitted. Even so, there are some that vibrate more than others. They are rare and usually have a 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.

Thadobati BUDDHA

They vibrate more, so they are more suitable for use in vibrational therapies, apart from their use in concerts and sound baths. Easy to find in medium sizes.

Thadobati WA-WA / DELFÍN

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 usually have medium or small sizes, they are not very common.

Jambati

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, copa ó cáliz

They have good sonority and are suitable for use in all types of therapeutic work and energetic cleansing, holding the pedestal by hand. As well as in concerts and sound baths, placed on a firm surface. Older bowls usually differ from newer ones in that they have more stable, cleaner sounds, are richer in harmonics and are of longer duration. They are easy to play with mallets and drumsticks. They are available in medium and small sizes.

Lingham

Antique LINGHAM bowls are rare to find and a favorite of collectors. We can find them in all sizes.

Formerly, they were used mainly in rituals and ceremonies, and nowadays, they 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 harmonics.

 

Mani

It is precious to use them for concerts or sound baths. They are not usually used in therapies as they have little perceptible vibrations.

They tend to sing with peculiar tones, with very sharp, penetrating, stable, long-lasting, and self-amplifying sine waves. Overtones are usually produced by rubbing them with the hard wooden part of the drumsticks.

They are played by hitting 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.

 

Manipuri

According to their volume or vibrational capacity, they are more suitable for concerts, sound baths, and for subtle work in therapies, where they are usually placed in specific areas of the body (hands, head, chakras). Their sounds are expansive.

 Having a little base, the small bowls tend to be unstable. If they are so, it is necessary to support 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 increasingly difficult to find.

 

Ultibati

They are mainly used for therapy and concerts. They sing for a long time with low sounds and emit strong vibrations. The rarest and oldest, 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.

Shabda

They are unique, different, and hard-to-find bowls. Shabda’s are real jewels!

The sound is concentrated inside the bowl, they usually have few harmonics and are self-amplifying. In the old days, they were used to making 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.

DESTACADOS

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