Singing Tibetan Bowl- Himalayan Bowls
Singing bowls are ritual object used in the Himalayan region since ancient times. Singing bowls are renowned for their healing and relaxing sound quality. They are idiophonic instruments that broadly fit into the family of bells and gongs. Every singing bowl is unique, and their sound quality depends upon a variety of factors including the combinations of metal, thickness of the bowl and the shape and size of the bowl.
The singing bowls are now increasingly becoming popular in Western civilization since the mid-twentieth century. The reason of its popularity is considered because many of the spiritual inquisitive people these days are exploring Eastern philosophy and religion. As the Eastern philosophies were given importance by the rest of the world, the respective tools including singing bowls were also realized as a vital object.
As the curiosity over these beautiful bowls rose, many inquisitive people started seeking out the relates and history of the singing bowls. However, the origins of singing bowls are mysterious. It is believed that metal working artisans perfected the techniques for making Tibetan Singing Bowls nearly 2,500 years ago! Even though there are less written history on the origination of singing bowls, there still exist a rich tradition of oral history that the bowls came from to Tibet at the time when Buddhism was introduced by Padmasambhava. Therefore, the history of Tibetan Singing Bowls goes back to the 8th century A.D.
It is true that the quality of sound of the ancient bowls cannot be reproduced today. The singing bowls are considered to be a lost art for atleast 50 years and the method followed to make the singing bowl is thought to be lost as well. According to the analysis of old bowls, it reveals that they were made from a variety of metal alloys consisting silver, gold, nickel, copper, zinc, antimony, tin, lead, cobalt, bismuth, arsenic, cadmium, and iron. It is also believed that the real antique bowls also consist of metal taken from meteorites. However, the manufacturing methods used today can produce bowls with beautiful tones. Today, bowls are both hand-hammered and machine-made, or a combination of the two. Modern bowls are most likely to be made of a type of bronze called “bell metal” composed of a mix of copper and tin. The best modern bowls are considered to come from Nepal.
The history of the singing bowls date back to the pre-Buddhist Tibetan Bon culture. It is commonly thought that they were traditionally used both in rituals and, more generally, as food bowls. Although they are referred as Tibetan Singing bowls, they actually are Himalayan bowls as they are present throughout the Himalayan regions of Tibet, Nepal and India. Nowadays, they are used to aid meditation, religious practice, relaxation and healthcare.
Due to the presence of multiple kinds of ore in singing bowls, the multiphonic overtones can be produced. However, it can be very challenging to differentiate between a real antique singing bowl and a new bowl these days as it is easy to make the new bowls appear aged. Although new bowls are capable of producing beautiful tones, only the real aged bowls can produce richest, mellowest tones. One should be very cautious prior to purchasing antique singing bowls as only few experts can authenticate the age and value of singing bowls.
There are two methods of playing singing bowls, either by rubbing a mallet around the rim or by striking the side of the bowls with the mallet. Both the methods produce quite distinctive sounds. The sound of the singing bowl starts peacefully and builds up steadily. The prime idea is deep relaxation that provides you to contact with the inner self. Sound is vibration, and that vibration moves throughout our body. The sound vibration of the singing bowl arouses cellular memory and permeates the sensation with the healing energy. Some of them also vibrate with certain altered brain states. The sound resonating from the singing bowl is very pure and potent in centering the mind and the body. These sounds have a profound impact on energy body of living beings, but also on the environment in general. The legends say that the secrets of sound coming from the singing bowl yield so much power that they must be kept hidden.
The sound of the singing bowl depends upon the pressure applied to the wand onto the rim of the bowl as well as the speed of rotating the wand. Even the wood from which the wand is made up of makes a difference in sound produced by the bowl. Unbalanced sound produced due to too much or too little pressure or the off beam speed will cause a nasty sound which most people may not like resulting complaints from them. However, playing a singing bowl is a meditation in itself. One can rise up into divine empire of unity by entering the mystical world of the muse of sound.
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