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Antique Singing Bowls! How many different types are there?

by Gongs Unlimited August 04, 2016

             Hello Singing Bowl Aficionado!

Maybe you have only played modern singing bowls, or maybe you already have a few cool crystal bowls or  large gongs, and now you are considering purchasing an antique singing bowl to add to your sound healing and meditation instruments.  But you are hesitant to dive right in.  We get it.
There's a lot of information out there about antique singing bowls - and while we feel the best way to learn and know if they are for you is to have an experience with them - we do know that it helps to have some basic information with which to work.
To that end, Unlimited Singing Bowls humbly offers you this information below.

Thadobati Singing Bowls

Thadobati is one of the first singing bowl styles, dating back to the 15th Century.

This was a favorite style of singing bowl and you can find more of them than other antique bowls. Thadobati bowls are easy to play; they are responsive and can produce beautiful healing sounds.

Thadobati bowls are characterized by fairly straight and high-sided walls. (The word “thado” means straight.)  The taller sides distinguish it from Manipuri bowls, which have lower sides. The rim is usually plain and more thin than the sides of the bowl. With heavier Thadobati singing bowls, you can find the some with walls that have various thicknesses. These thicknesses can create unique tonal qualities and do not suggest an inferior bowl.

A Thadobati bowl usually has a wide, flat base that is slightly less in diameter than
its rim, and can even have a wall height that is greater than its diameter. Its walls
can be thin or thick - but are usually consistent depth from base to rim. This style
bowl usually has minimal design or decoration on it. Some have dots within
circles, which represent the Sun.  And do not worry if you see a bowl’s decorations that appear incomplete, as they have been worn down over the centuries.


Manipuri Singing Bowls

This style bowl is easily recognizable from its shape: shallow with an outward-directed lip and small rounded base.  Some are shinier or brighter bronze. Some have various designs on them as well.  Although there are different variations to the Manipuri, their attractive design always catches the eye.
Manipuri bowls tend to be smaller and can be very plain in look or more ornate (some bowls have ornamentation inside and out). Manipuri bowls are responsive when you play them and tend naturally to play higher toned.
There are singing bowlers who prefer to play a Manipuri bowls by holding them with their fingertips versus their palms.  Manipuris are also well suited for body work and can be placed on or alongside the chakras.


Void Singing Bowls

In the context of Tibetan Buddhism the “void” is the doctrine of dependent origination - meaning the Individual is inseparable from the All.

Void singing bowls can be recognized  by their folded-lip construction.  During the forging process, the hot, malleable metal is folded over at the rim and the excess is trimmed off.

Produced from the 15th through the 19th centuries, Void bowls were frequently embellished with geometric design patterns; a ribbon of dots surrounded by small circles on the exterior wall under the lip.  Additionally, patterns of concentric circles appear on both the inside and outside of the walls.

Historians feel these designs represent the bowl’s function - showing wave patterns emanating outward to remind the user that the vibrations of our thoughts, words, and deeds resonate infinitely out into the universe.


Lingam Singing Bowls

In this world of rarities, antique singing bowls, the one considered to be the most rare is the Lingam style.
Lingam singing bowls have a range of shapes and sizes but are easily identified
by the cone, the lingam, in the center of the bowl and its corresponding concave
dimple on the bottom of the bowl.
The word lingam, if you were not aware, relates to the male phallus, especially the one attached to the Hindu God Shiva.  Of course it connotes more than just sexual energy, it is also about the divine creative force in the Universes. 
Made for ceremonial use and prayer, as Shiva worship is a major sect of Hinduism, the Lingam bowls inspire us to be aware of God's creativity.

The lingam bowl’s sound is deep and full, sometimes pulsating and with a long

Gongs Unlimited
Gongs Unlimited


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