Contemporary bowls - made now - are of a different alloy, a different shape and produce two tones - fundamental and overtone. A good quality old bowl will produce more overtones and be made from a different alloy. Certain types of bowls are not found in the new ones because these have a thicker bottom either with 5 Dhyani Buddhas or even a 3-dimensional Buddha yet some older bowls have a very thin base (even if this has occured through many years of cleaning after eating food/drinking from said bowls). The modern 'Tibetan Bowl' is of one shape - although fakes have a wider variety of shapes - and originates in Nepal.
Nowadays it is uncertain but I began in 1971 and those three bowls arrived inthe UK 1901 whilst some of my other bowls are centuries old (a variety if signs) and those from a sacred tradition (and passed on to me by visiting yogis and even very high Tibetan Masters) are definitely centuries old. Nowadays there are fakes (to keep up with demand) or any other excuse to raise the selling price. Some of my categorisations of bowls (taken out of context) are also used to up the price - shame that.
Thanks for your input and very importantly 108 thanks for your vision and work at creating and the ongoing manifestation of the OMNetwork!
What I mean by the word "antique" is 100 years or older. But more loosely, let's just say "old vs. new Tibetan (or Himalayan) singing bowls. Otherwise we will be headed off into a tangent about dating techniques of Himalayan and Indo-Tibetan bronzes.
Therefore the discussion is: The qualities of old versus new Tibetan (Himalayan) singing bowls.
[BTW, I'd be happy to pick up on the tangent of dating bowls on perhaps another discussion.]
Thanks and Namaskarum! You most senior position as western Singing Bowl Master carries a lot of weight so thank you very much for your input.
As you may know I spend half of the year here in the Himalayas of Nepal. I've been researching, collecting, traveling and living here for 30 years now. I've seen quite a lot of singing bowls flow through here. There have been times in the past when I've sorted through 10,000 kilos of singing bowls over the period of a week, spending 6 to 8 hours a day testing and sorting them to find the very best. And over the last couple of years what I'm seeing is what are called here in the Himalayas "new-made, look-old" singing bowls being mixed in with the old ones. Unfortunately, what I'm also seeing in the shops and websites in the west (mainly America) is these same new bowls now being offered (and advertised) as old. Now to be fair, I've actually been encouraging people here in the Himalayas for over 12 years now to try to make really high quality new singing bowls. The confusion is being caused by the artificial "patina" which is being applied to the new singing bowls and the misunderstanding that dark metal equals old.
Are you also seeing a lot of new singing bowls being offered as old there in the U.K.????
Rain! ... I am not an expert offering singing bowls. For me one argument to buy a singing bowl is the sound and the vibration in my ears and on my hands if i am playing the bowl. Also the price is important because for me as an orientation. If I have to pay more than 80 EUR /kg something could be false or wrong. A normal price in Berlin is 70 EUR/ kg - this item isn't the main aspect to buy a singing bowl. - In my opinion it is an illusion to think that singing bowls are old or antique or maybe it was the "dinner box" of a bodhisattva.
Personally I learned long ago not to listen to any "rap" being told me by anybody in the Himalayas. The bottom line is "the piece and the price"! Of course every serious musician, and/or sound healer, is interested in getting the very best sounding instrument(s) they can for the best price within their comfortable budget. That being said, singing bowl players and collectors with years of experience will most likely be in agreement that the best of the old singing bowls have a sound quality that is preferable to the best of the new-made singing bowls. It's like a Stradivarius compared to the very finest reproduction violin (although this may not be the best comparison). Ultimately, beyond the magic and mystery, beyond the price, is the feeling that the harmonic resonances and rich overtones evoke within us. And this is always why I recommend that one should sit quietly, breath deeply and feel the sound.
BTW, although I'm an expert in Indo-Tibetan bronze at the museum level you'll note that on my website I always precede any dates of singing bowls with the word "circa" (which according to Websters Dictionary means "about"). Here, however, is a photo of a bowl with an original inscription (meaning it was not added at a later date) for your perusal. The inscribed date in the upper right hand corner reads 1772 (which minus the 57 year difference in our calendar system would mean that this bowl dates from the 1st quarter of the 18th century).
Photo and text: (c) 2004 Rain Gray. All Rights Reserved.
I haven't played never so much bowls like you who are testing and playing 6 to 8 hours a day these beautiful bowls. What can I write: nothing. I hope that people will find what they are looking for - without any fraud - and that for example singing bowls we find their way to each who have a sense for them. What we have to know is that we can't own these things. We can enjoy them in our life and we can share these wonderful vibrations - that's all. What I mean is recorded in this piece: Opening
I worked with Peter Hess resources. From what I could perceive - antique singing bowls are nice for doing the music or meditation things. But "new" singing bowls, especially "acama" (max quality) - they seem to be the best choice for sound massage (placing on the body and so on). From research perspective - antique and new (acama) - have different spectrum. I think in a year or two, I should be able to post some research article abut new singing bowls, since I have a very large sound database to rework (about 200 of sound samples); depends on free time.
The answer is yes. As you probably know they use a mixture with desiel. It is down to the merchant - some think that Westerners want old bowls so they make them as dirty as they can and yet others think we want a nice shiny bowl to place on our shelves (whatever) and for this reason some old bowls are cleaned up (wire wool, Brasso and sometimes dipped in acid to remove all signs of age - including patina!). I have handled bowls that have been painted dark brown and then baked (I can even see the brushstrokes) to look old. As you doubtless also know, different metals change colour at different rates whilst storing conditions, useage, and differences in the alloys create not inconsiderable difficulty in ascertaining age. So we find many bowls with a variety of techniques to imitate age. It is somewhat inevitable as the genuine old bowls must have found new homes now and thus are dried up at soure - bar a few exceptions. It is possible to find good-sounding bowls from amongst the new bowls although it is doubtful that these contain meteorite - as in some of the very sacred older bowls. I don't experience the situation here as being over-concerned with age - nobody has ever tried to sell me a bowl claiming it to be old. Age is seldom if ever mentioned. There is the bowl - you like it or you don't. Of course, some sellers wish to capitalise on their bowls and will have a number of excuses for a higher price - one of which is age - yet other excuses/reasons/justifications arise from categorisations originating from myself! - although my origination of these terms had nothing whatever to do with selling but rather simply my observations shared during workshops, etc (attended by merchants who then misapplied my knowledge - the joys of living in a Utilitarian society).
Whilst I am happy to engage in this discussion I wouldn't want any readers to infer that I endorse such a view or that I hold such a view myself. I've got good sounding bowls in my collection of both old and new (by new I mean 30 years or less). Some of these old ones I've owned myself for over 25 years now.
To be absolutely frank (and there's nothing I do better) this is not my issue. I treat each and every bowl as an individual. I have a few categories of bowls such as: healing and non-healing & sacred and secular. I've found really old bowls that look fantastic but the sound has been very poor - almost as if all the sound has been beaten out of it over the centuries. To find good-sounding bowls one has to search through hundreds of bowls and selecting maybe up to 5% - whether old or new. I believe that I first encountered this issue in an article by Mitch Nurr.
I recently had Vlasta Marek over from Czecoslavakia to interview me. This was his very first question. But I don't make an issue of this. Why ask me this - I thought. But it soon transpired that he was not here to interview me about My work but had his own agenda.
In my sound healing work I use mostly old bowls but this has more to do with supersensible qualities of these bowls - but also their sound. To read further about mysound healing you could visit either www.spiritualsoundhelaing.com or www.frankperry.co.uk
You can find many articles by me on singing bowls but you won't find anything much on this issue.
I believe that new bowls are made from sheet metal and therefore a consistent alloy. Older bowls can be far more of an individual arrangement taken from a variety of metals and were made in a different age when time wasn't money and where individual master bowl-makers could take their time to infuse a bowl with other qualities from out of their own spirituality.
In essence, I'd say they've 'mellowed' with age.
For myself some old bowls have greater signifiance to me and my work because of their spiritual dimensions and qualities either added through the work of previous owners or dedicated at their inception. I have come across new bowls with strange energies added by the seller to influence the buyer - but I am not fooled by confused energies. SO - dimensions to sound!
It's similar to choosing Cymbals - old ones can have more 'character' in their sound whilst new ones are sometimes treated by drummers in order to reduce their dishy sound. With cymbals it is a question of the sound one wants - this could be found in old cymbals or one might be able to treat the new cymbals in order to get the sound quality sought after. One might have to extend one's range by choosing from authentic Chinese cymbals - say.
Enjo your bowls - whatever their age.
This is an interesting discussion. I think as humans we often romanticize older things, endowing them with a higher perceived value, or even mythical properties/powers. That is certainly seen in Singing Bowls, Gongs, and cymbals. Many drummers talk about hopefully finding an older "Holy Grail" cymbal, as if it would possess some magical sound quality that would endow the music played with such qualities. I have always dismissed that as "wishful thinking," or even as nostalgia for old things/ways.
While I value older instruments, I don't usually place extra value on them. I recently acquired a very old Burmese Kyeezee bell that sounds wonderful, but it doesn't sound that much different from a more modern one I also have. My perceived value of the older one is more of a romantic/spiritual idea of thinking about all the hands it has passed through and who may have played it through the years.
Last year I ordered 2 new Gongs directly from Paiste and when I received them they were only a few months old - they sounded great. So aside from any romantic/nostalgic idea, I don't place an inordinary value on the age of an instrument. What's more important to me is whether it has the sound I want, and, this is most important, whether that sound resonates with me! Yes, many older instruments are extremely well made and exceptional sounding, but many are also not very good. This can also be said of contemporary ones. As Frank put it so well, "Enjoy your bowls - whatever their age."