Antique Tibetan Singing Bowls were made with a consecrated alloy that contained between 5 and 12 different metals; gold, silver, lead, tin, copper, mercury and most importantly iron and meteorite elements. The main alloy components that contribute to the sound are copper, tin and iron. The type of iron that was added to the bowls came from the meteorites that fell in the Himalayas and was revered as a source of what is called “Sky Metal” this type of iron was not mined. The other additional metals and sometimes crystals and minerals that were added at the time of forging were subject to a unique set of principals of alchemy that the master maker at the time of the metal forging decided upon. These bowls were created with the intention was to be used in ritual, healing, as offerings to Deities and Temples, and placed on Altars.
The smelting and forging of metal has not always been the realm of industry although in most countries that is what it has become. One well know exception is the Gong Makers in KlungKlung Bali. They forge all gongs and gamelan parts according to a strict astrological schedule and require a Mangku or Priest to bless the forge regularly. We were all once doing it this way. I have personally participated in gong rituals in Bali and their devotion is sincere. The metal in Antique Tibetan Singing Bowls comes from a time when that sort of thing was the way it was done in the Himalayas.
In contrast today modern bowls of even the best quality are made with metal sourced from Malaysian and Chinese factories and contain only Copper and Tin with impurities. Although some of the modern bowls are still hand fabricated the materials used are not equal. The process of making modern bowls also does not include ritual or blessings and given the cost of metal and labor the workmanship and quality of the antique bowls will not be repeated. New bowls are just not the same.
Antique bowls were always designed with specific purposes in mind and were forged during exact astrological times and in very small quantities. In the Himalayas there was a special reverence to metal and all materials that come from the sky or are taken from the earth. This reverence to the materials used and their connection with the Nagas or Earth energy in the Himalayas and the practices around making metal bowls are wrapped within a Himalayan culture that looks back at least 8000 years. There it finds its history in the fire cults of Uigher and the religious tradition of the Bon Po which include Dzogchen.
The few antique bowls that can be see today are the result of hundreds of years of small artisan shops that existed long ago and they are only available on the market today due to the efforts of collectors both in the west and in the Himalayas to find and preserve these fine objects in the face of modernization and cultural change.
I sell no new bowls.
The collection that I have for sale is a result of years of weeding through thousands of bowls and sitting at the feet of Bon Po monks and Nag Pa. These bowls are the ones that harmonically did not match perfectly to me and my practice so even though I am releasing them back to the world at least you have some provenence to judge. I bought all of them back myself from choices I made on the ground in the Himalayas. If you are considering a bowl, let’s talk. I would rather put you on the right path, see you happy and using the bowls in a meaningful spiritual practice.