Tibetan Singing Bowls: What Are They and Where Did They Come From?

Tibetan Singing Bowls have been dated as far back as 560 – 480 B.C. during the Buddha Shakyamuni period. Tradition says the bowls were brought to Tibet from India, as part of the Buddha teachings of the 8th century A.D. They came by way of Padmasambhava, the great tantric master.

A state of deep relaxation is invoked by the sounds of singing bowls, assisting one to meditate and become enlightened. They are an ideal aid for meditating and found present on private Buddhist altars. They are also common in monasteries and temples around the world.

There has been varied analysis in regards to the metallurgical aspects of Tibetan Singing Bowls. It is Concordia University that has provided an analysis originally tells us they are made of 8 metal alloy of copper with tin. It has been found that there is also gold iron, led, mercury, silver, and zinc mixed in as well.

While meditation and relaxation are the traditional usages for Tibetan Singing Bowls. They are also known to good for relieving one’s stress and for holistic healing as well. Chakra balancing and Reiki also benefit from Tibetan Singing Bowls.

There is a rich blending of harmonic overtones where people have reported their chakras were affected differently. A centering effect is often the result of the bells being played and the tone sets up a balance of the left and right sides of the brain, thus synchronizing the brain.

Purified Jewelry

Tibetan Singing Bowls have been used to purify jewelry over the years. In Nepal and Tibet, where Tibetan Singing Bowls originated, women commonly wear over-sized jewelry. The pieces will be of a rustic style that has uneven edges, Those characteristics are a firm indication they are hand-made, not machine made.

Nepalese jewelry workmanship is a long-standing tradition with both men and women making the pieces today.  Jewelry is an important part of the dress in both Nepal and Tibet because ancient history has taught their people that it is a protection. Much like an amulet is for protection, so are the metals and stones that the jewelry is made from.

As such, jewelers today that specialize in Nepal or Tibetan jewelry will clean their pieces in a Tibetan Singing Bowl, believed to cleanse the piece. Copper and silver are the most common pieces for Nepalese jewelry, but gold is used as well. The pieces are heavy and are measured by the gram when sold.

The Meaning Of The Stones Used In Nepalese and Tibetan Jewelry

Coral and turquoise are also often used in creating Nepalese or Tibetan jewelry, representing the sea and the sky. Agate, garnet, lapis lazuli, and tiger eye are other popular stones used with yak bone being a common material for both bracelets and necklaces.

Sanskrit words are represented by Nepalese jewelry which has a specific meaning for the person who wears the jewelry. Such as the incorporation of the symbol for Om into jewelry. Om is the sound of planets making their way through space. It is known to be a healing sound, a relaxing sound. The person wearing the piece of jewelry with an Om is reminded of keeping harmony present. Using the Tibetan Singing Bowls for cleaning the piece maintains that harmony.

Om mani Padme hum is the common mantra on Nepalese and Tibetan jewelry, literally meaning, hail to the jewel in the lotus. In Buddhist jewelry, there are eight lucky symbols that are popular in Buddhist jewelry that comes from Nepal.

Another popular piece is the Kalachakra mantra symbol, a ten-fold powerful mantra. And not to be forgotten is the healing properties that bracelet that which are made from three different metals. As with other pieces of Nepalese and Tibetan jewelry, the rinsing process in Tibetan Singing Bowls enhances the healing powers.

Tibetan Singing Bowls – A Powerful and Rich History

Ulrich Von Schroeder, an Indo-Tibetan bronze art historian that wrote “Indo-Tibetan Bronzes”, was the basis of how Tibetan Singing Bowls are dated. Von Schroeder collected a collection of many, many bronze sculpture photographs in efforts of discovering the dating of these bowls.

He began by using stylistic characteristics to identify them and the classified them with similar pieces. The level of wear on these bowls showed in this work on the bronze surface, most likely from the use for ritual practices like touching and washing.

The paintings and sculptures of the Indo-Tibetan according to Eastern history were sacred art and would glorify the subject, not the artist. As such, an artist would rarely sign a piece or even inscribe the date. In this context, Tibetan Singing Bowls would rarely have any information inscribed. If one were to find one that did have an inscription, it has most likely been added on afterward.

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