Antique Singing Bowl. Note: E4 (Solar Plexus Chakra)
Weight: 644 grams (1 lb 7 oz). Size: 21 x 6.5 cm (8 ¼ x 2 ½ inches)
This extraordinary Antique Singing Bowl is one of two similar bowls I acquired in Nepal many years ago, the like of which I have not encountered before or since. Whilst their fine walls, shallow form, and raised mound at the centre are quite rare, it is their vibrant energy and artwork that makes them unique in the bowl world.
Virtually the entire surface of this bowl (and the other), inside and out, is covered in fine artwork, much of it symmetrical and rhythmic in nature. The range of motifs employed is enormous…including dots, diagonal dashes (in both directions), verticals, waves, circles, diamonds and stars! It would have taken the craftsperson ages to complete.
I have to be honest and say that I am at a loss to explain the reason behind all this artwork, which I don’t believe is entirely decorative. I have a feeling that it represents the considerable energetic quality of this bowl, and possibly relates to water in some way. Indeed, when I played it with a little water inside, its vibrant energy created wonderful patterns and fountains on the surface, and it even has modest talking abilities. My intuition tells me that this is a water bowl, and its special function is to energize water to be used on ritual, ceremonial and healing occasions.
Another possibility is to play it percussively…by placing the bowl on the palm of the hand and striking its side and central mound alternately with a padded drumstick. The two struck notes work well together. It’s easy to assume that singing bowls should be struck once or played around the rim with a ringer…but the truth is that we don’t know for sure how any of these antique bowls were played…and there are many possibilities, individually and collectively!
The fundamental note is a perfect pitch middle E4 (330Hz) when struck with a padded mallet or played around the rim with a suede ringer. It has a long sustain when played, and multiple harmonics including Bb2, Eb5 and D5.
I believe this bowl to date from the 1800s. It is in excellent structural condition and basically stain-free, with an antique bronze colour and aged patina. Although I bought it in Nepal, it is likely to be Indian in origin.
A Tibetan silk brocade bowl cushion and a double-ended teak and suede ringer are included in the price.
A really special singing bowl!
Listen: ( 3 struck notes and 2 played notes, suede ringer then wood).