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Types of Himalayan singing bowls

Types of Himalayan singing bowls

Singing bowl Jambati / Jambhati

The Jambati (rounded bottom) Himalayan singing bowl is one of the most common types of singing bowls

This type of antique bowl usually appears to vary between 8.5” – 14” in diameter. The height could vary between 3” – 7”. 

Jambati singing bowls can be made with a thick lip (rim) or with no significant difference between the thickness of the wall and the edge. A thick rim usually adds the presence of a high pitch to the fundamental tone. The bowl with a bright high pitch is often associated with female energy.

Jambati without a thicker rim sound deeper and have a higher amount of distinguishable overtones. This type of bowl is often associated with male energy.

The origins of Jambati singing bowls are India and Nepal. The oldest bowl of this kind that I came across was made in the 16th century, the youngest – from the 19th century.

                             

Singing bowl Ultabati / Ultabhati

Ultabati singing bowls have the same geometry as the Jambati except for the upper part of the bowl. The wall curves inward and back creating the shape of a wave.

This type of bowl usually appears in a range between 9” – 14” in diameter. The height could vary between 3.5” – 7”.

Ultabati singing bowls were usually made with no significant difference between the thickness of the wall and the edge (rim). The sound of these bowls is typically low and deep.

The origin of Ultabati is Nepal. Nepali elders say that this vessel was used in local breweries to make beer. The oldest bowl of this kind I saw was made in the 16th century. The youngest dates from the 20th century.

                                

Singing bowl Thadobati / Tadobhati

The Thadobati (flat bottom, straight wall) is another common type of antique singing bowl. 

This type can usually be found ranging from 5.5” – 10” in diameter. The height could vary between 2” – 4.5”. 

As with Jambati, Thadobati can appear with a thick lip (rim) or with no difference between the thickness of the wall and the edge. Having said that, Thadobati are usually greater in wall thickness than the previous types of bowls. 

Thadobati singing bowl originated on the east coast of India (thin-wall) and Bhutan (thick-wall). Thadobati can be found ranging in age from 50 to 400 years.

                                       

Singing bowl Thadobati cup (small singing bowl)

These cups vary in size ranging between 3-5 inches in diameter. The thickness of the wall in these cups is the main parameter that makes a huge difference in the pitch of the bowl.

                                               

Rare shaped singing bowls

Thadobati singing bowl can often be found in a large variety of designs. Sometimes the rim is banded towards the center of the bowl, sometimes it sticks outside.

The type of Thadobati on the right side of the picture below got the name “Bodhi”. It is hard to say why and how, or who named it this way, but it certainly happened in the West in recent years. The rim of this bowl is slightly bent towards the outside. Usually, a Bodhi is hard to find. The majority of these bowls have an astonishing sound quality. They sound crystal clear with a distinguished balance between the fundamental tone and overtones.

                                                                                                          

The type of Thadobati singing bowl below is called Remuna. The wall is angled inwards. 

Typically Remunas are made with a medium thickness of the wall. It's pretty rare to find one with a good sound, but if you find one, keep it!

                                                  

Singing bowl Mani (Chama)

Mani singing bowls, aka "beggar's bowls" are the most frequently seen antique Himalayan singing bowls still used by the Buddhist monks. Holding the bowl, the monk usually enters a crowded place asking for donations which are deposited in the bowl. 

This type of bowl is typically heavy in weight due to the very thick walls.

Mani singing bowls typically produce a high pitch tone with no more than one distinguished overtone. These bowls are usually very easy to play by rubbing the rim. 

The oldest Mani bowl that I came across was about 350 years old. The youngest Mani singing bowl was about 150 years old.

The origins of Mani bowls are unknown to me.

                                

Pedestal singing bowl (AKA beggar's or Naga singing bowl)

The name Pedestal singing bowl is self-explanatory. In this type of vessel, a rounded band is welded to the bottom. These bowls are comfortable to hold but sometimes a little hard to find, especially in good quality.

The oldest Pedestal singing bowl that I have seen was about 100 years old.

The origin of the Pedestal bowl is Odisha, India. In the original language, it is known as Gina. Gina's original purpose was a vessel for food.

                                                    

Shiva Lingam singing bowl bowl

Shiva Lingam singing bowls have become a real treasure these days. For some reason, the Westerners have given these bowls a special place in their collections, thus they command a special price. There are many different speculations about the traditional use of this type of bowl.

The nipple in the center of the bowl is a symbol of Shiva. This nipple adds to the cost of the bowl, which is sometimes a few thousand dollars. Shiva Lingam bowls however usually have a really good sound. It is sustained and clear with not many overtones but with a good balance between them.

The origin of Shiva Lingam bowls is India. The oldest bowl of this kind I saw was about 350 years old.

                                                 

Singing bowl Manipuri 

This is another pretty common type of Himalayan singing bowl. The main characteristic of the Manipuri singing bowl is the low wall. Manipuris can be found in various sizes ranging from 3.5 to 10 inches. The wall is typically thin, which doesn't make this bowl a good sounding instrument. However, if you are lucky to find a Manipuri with a thick wall or a thick rim, most likely you will not want to let it go. Some of these bowls sound quite delicious!

The most likely origin of the Manipuri is India. The oldest bowl of this kind I saw was about 300 years old, and the youngest about 80 years old.

                                                 

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More information and comprehensive tutorials about this topic are offered in my online courses "Singing Bowls Art Lab", "Singing Bowls For Beginners", and "Sound Healing Teacher Training".

Images and sound samples of antique singing bow

 

Comments on this post (2)

  • Jun 24, 2021

    Dear Wendy
    Thank you for your comment. Please feel free to give us your honest feedback on other posts.
    With much love Guy Beider

    — Guy Yair Beider

  • May 26, 2021

    Hi
    Thanks for that lovely demo of the different types and their sounds.
    Really enjoyed it
    Cheers
    W

    — Wendy Daubney

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