Weight 3 lb 14 ½ oz. (1.78 kilos). Size 23 x 11 cm (9 x 4 ¼ inches)
This rare and extraordinary antique Lingam Singing Bowl is believed to date from the 17thor 18thcentury. It has exceptionally thick walls and is undoubtedly the heaviest lingam bowl for its size to have come my way in over 30 years of collecting. It has a subtly shaped form and a relatively low profile, and features a huge pointed lingam at its centre, defined and surrounded by circles. Its lip is thick and grooved, and there are pairs of decorative bands encircling its outer wall below the rim and about two thirds down.
The deep navel, or yoni, underneath has been filled in as part of an ancient fertility rite to ensure a pregnancy goes full term (see below).
The fundamental note is a nice middle F (373Hz) when struck with a padded mallet or played around the rim with a suede or wooden ringer.
In some Himalayan cultures antique Lingam bowls are given as a wedding gift to ensure fertility and wellbeing. The lingam represents Shiva and the navel underneath is seen as a yoni and represents his consort Parvati.
At the time of giving the bowl the top of the lingam is painted red, the colour of fertility and marriage, and the bride will wear a red sari and paint her hairline red. The sound of the bowl is seen as the primal fertilizing activating principle. The bowl is sometimes struck at the time of birth, and at about 3 months the baby is given the bowl and helped to strike and play it to wake up the life force. In some traditions the bowl’s yoni is ritually filled in and sealed when given to a girl at marriage, to ensure a future pregnancy goes full term. After the birth of a female it is sometimes opened up again.
Lingam bowls are also used as sacred instruments and are normally struck and played around the rim, but it is known that the lingam itself is sometimes also struck to produce a second note, something that has been witnessed in Tibetan monasteries, and also in Mongolia. Lingam bowls also serve various other ritual functions and are commonly used as a vessel for herbal and medicinal preparations because of the activating power of the Shiva Lingam combined with the Parvati Yoni.
This unique antique lingam bowl is in excellent structural condition and virtually free of stains and blemishes. It’s a very attractive and characterful bowl with a rich golden bronze colour and some light copper oxidization inside. A Tibetan silk brocade bowl cushion, a padded striker and a ringer are all included in the price.
Listen: (3 struck notes and 2 played notes, first with a suede ringer and then a wooden one)