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The last great Manipuri hoard

First of all what is a hoard. Think of a secret stash of valuable objects. As a kid I was fascinated by old coin hoards. In 2013 the largest hoard of gold coins ever found in the US was discovered in the Sierra foothills.  Fascinating story, and you can imagine my delight when I came across a similar hoard of old singing bowls in the foothills of the Himalayas.

Once the most common singing bowl, The antique Manipuri style has almost left the scene. The original Manipuri style came from Tibet.  Those exquisite bowls, first available in the 70s, helped ignite interest in singing bowls. There was no way the trickle of Tibetan bowls was going to be able to satisfy the kind of demand that eventually emerged. Fortunately vast quantities, millions of bowls, were sitting on the shelves in homes all over Nepal and a sliver of north east India.

At first Nepal carried the load.  Kathmandu in the mid 90s was awash in antique Manipuri bowls. People sold them on the streets, in shops and at the open air markets. There were no fakes or new bowls – why try to revive a lost art when you could buy a bowl from a villager for a dollar.

As singing bowls became a hot commodity Indian exporters entered the scene in a big way. The exporters were metal dealers, used to buying and selling by the kilo. They had handled bowls as a small part of their mix for years. A few saw the opportunity and invested big time in collecting.  By the early 2000’s one exporter was sending over 100,000 bowls a year out of the country. A 2007 article in the UK Guardian newspaper featured a reporter visiting this exporter in Delhi.  At the time the exporter had an inventory of 12,000 singing bowls, all antiques gathered from the countryside of India. Based on the size ratios of the time the weight of these bowls was likely 8 Metric tons, 8,000 kilos or almost 20,000 Lbs. The reporter bought a single bowl that weighed 11.2 kilos – 25 Lbs!

It is unlikely anyone will see 12,000 antique Manipuri bowls gathered in one place ever again, let alone huge ones. The countrysides in Nepal and India have been scoured. Despite the dealers offering ever higher prices they are coming back with a bag full instead of the truckloads of days past.

That brings us to the hoard. One dealer, with whom we have had a decades long relationship, decided to collect as many Manipuri as he could.  His plan was to hold on to the best and sell off the others so he would have a large group of high quality bowls –  to sell at the right time.  Over the course of a couple of years, buying primarily in India, he said he purchased about 20,000 bowls selling the lower quality ones to have the cash to buy more.

Then in 2018 the time had come – and Best Singing Bowls was offered the first look at the hoard. Relationships  (and ready cash) count in this world. The buyer had winnowed it down to about  5,000 bowls.  They were just a wonder to see, tall stacks some bowls gleaming, others dark with patina.  It took days to ring each bowl and ring them again then physically examine each one. In the end a deal was struck and we left with over 1000, the finest of the hoard.

We will be listing these bowls on the website over the next couple of years.However if you are in the market for a Manipuri set there is no better time than now when we have this incredibly deep stock. No better place to start.

#singingbowls #Manipuri #antique #Himalayas

A report published March 17 in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine showed that aerosols of the Corona virus were shorter lived on Copper, only 4-8 hours, than on any other surface tested. It was longest lived on hard plastic and steel surfaces (3 days) while on cardboard it has a one day life.

Copper is the main metal in singing bowls.  Antiques are generally between 75% and 80%. Our website has a section on the healing properties of copper including testing in hospital settings by the Veteran’s Administration and Sloan Kettering. Apparently the pathogen killing properties of copper extends to viruses as well.

This does NOT mean, of course, that a singing bowl is a preventative or cure for the virus. What it does mean is out of the box you can be pretty confident your singing bowl has no trace of it.

#antiviral #copper #singingbowls #covid19 #coronavirus

OBITUARIES Eric Newman, Whose Coins Told of America’s History, Dies at 106

I remember seeing this guy’s name in the coin magazines I was reading in the 60s. Kind of amazing – born in 1911, started collecting in 1918.  Imagine what his pocket change looked like! The photo of him at the top of the article at 103 shows he must have been doing something right.

NYT Obituary, November 2017

NYT 2014 article

Those coin magazines really made an impression on me. Now I am in the business of selling an analog of coins – antique copper bowls.  Just like in the old days I get to pick through stacks and get the best ones – except I’m somewhere around the Himalayan mountains while doing so. My ear has augmented my eye in terms of selecting value.   Like back then I’m building my own personal collection and at the same time passing on lots of great ones.

I’ve adapted the style they used in those magazines to sell individual coins – a nice photo along with a story, possibly a little romance  and the essential immutable facts. Being the web I have more space than a magazine and get to add multiple photos and sound clips along with lots more info out of my database.

I’ve even adapted one of the core values in numismatics – “condition” which I call “state of preservation” and use it to assess every singing bowl. No other singing bowl website seems to look at their bowls this way let alone judges them to a standard, record it and post it for each one. I’m even issuing certificates with photos, again something that harkens back to the coin world.

Coin collecting is not a part of the culture now. Just like Newman, I got started by a coin gift at age 7 and just like him I hung out at a coin store  – and I was not the only kid who showed up there.

I have scattered a few whimsical coin collecting references around the site including here and here.

RS

The order was for one #118 mallet, our cutest dinkiest [wool-head] traditional Nepalese mallet, together with two cover cloths, one royal blue with gold “Profound Sounds” embroidering, one velvet, Tibetan monk red, also with the gold “Profound Sounds” embroidering. It all fits neatly in a USPS Small Flat Rate box. Very pleasing.

Now I will tell you what this packing/visual evoked for me.

 

Post-earthquake Kathmandu 2015

We did not have these plush red velvet cover cloths until last year. We were in Kathmandu in late Fall 2015, our first sojourn there since the massive earthquake that Spring. In one way, the city looked to us much the same as before. But that’s only because Kathmandu always has part-built buildings, unfinished or not begun sidewalks, piles of rubble waiting for a family crew of adults (often with even their small children alongside as fellow laborers) to start building. This means the devastation is not exactly discernible, until you step in close. We, for instance, were brought to a different abode than is our usual receiving place. The 4-story home that we have arrived into multiple times, now so compromised with fissures that a full crew of extended community was attempting to salvage it. That was the first dramatic reality.

No fuel, no cars; clean air

The second was the fuel embargo that was being imposed on Nepal from India due to contentious new Nepalese Constitution. This was unofficial (no formal admission by Indian government) but very real and starting to bite at the local level. During the weeks we were in Kathmandu we were immersed in the milieu of fast-dwindling gas supplies, with private cars the first to be rationed and ultimately denied refueling.

The silver lining for us in this state of affairs was that the ever-present polluted air of the city cleared. It was breathtaking and we were breathing, crystalline Himalayan air! We could see the awesome mountain range that had never been visible in all the years we had been coming. We rented bicycles, an unprecedented joy, suddenly very appealing because we were not taking our lives into our hands. The roads were empty, the air was clean.

The Nepali embroiderer

And then there was the embroiderer from the village, for whom I had a warm place in my heart since he had in a previous trip, exquisitely embroidered Toothless (How To Train Your Dragon) on a t-shirt for my granddaughter.

The embroiderer walks from village to city every morning to sit at his sewing machine and embroider incredible intricacies of design. His mastery is awesome to witness and the earthquake severely impacted every Kathmandu artisan (international tourist trade way down for fear of more quakes).

So I had the thought that he could embroider a whole batch of new cover cloths for us.

bsb-embroidered-tassled-woolIt almost seemed that it couldn’t happen when he told me sadly that they were unable to receive any of their usual supplies of fabric due to earthquake-related losses in suppliers and manufacturers and access..;
But you know…”, he pondered, “we do have something right here, if you think it could work…” 

And thus Best Singing Bowls was blessed with one sweet batch of Tibetan-red velvet cover cloths to mark an historic moment in Nepalese history.

Oh, and he embroidered this one-off delight just for us.

*’¯`✦¸¸.*’¯`✦* *’¯`✦¸¸.*’¯`✦*
Corrina McFarlane, BSB

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The website is now packed with new articles and information, organized for easy navigation. The overview page provides a bird’s eye view of our broad range of singing bowls ringers, mats and accessories. In keeping with the best of modern web design, the site now fills the screen –  bowls look just spectacular on a big monitor or TV. It is also optimized for the small screen.

Designed for ease … and education

It can be overwhelming to see hundreds of amazing singing bowls. To soothe the overstimulated mind we’ve developed a world class set of navigation tools. It’s easy to narrow down what is on the screen to see just what you are most interested in. The right hand column (or the filter icon in mobile) on our Bowls page has the most extensive system for filtering singing bowls anywhere.

The filtering system is also designed to be a teaching tool. Want to know how frequencies and notes relate – play with the filters. Looking for low or high notes, filter for them and see what kinds of bowls show up. Want to see bowls that are thick, have extensive artwork or are ceremonial antiques – just use the filters.

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What Our Customers Say

Bob MetivierBob Metivier
17:26 09 May 24
Ryan, your L6 medium mallet is amazing! Your attention to particular needs in detail is the reason I decided to make my purchases with you.
Aria ThomeAria Thome
17:28 22 Apr 24
Ryan is absolutely amazing at his craft. He cares so deeply that you get matched with the right bowl(s) and will go out of his way to make this happen for you. His knowledge is unsurpassable and purchasing from him allows you to tap into his bottomless education and knowledge!!
Zara D'SouzaZara D'Souza
15:43 03 Apr 24
My entire experience was so seamless. The website is so flexible and easy to navigate. For anyone looking to build a bowl collection, this is the right place to go. I highly recommend reaching out to Ryan. He was so helpful and supportive in guiding me and making sure I make the right decisions. His suggestions were spot on and Im glad I trusted him!! The shipping and tracking was really great as well. The bowls were well packaged when shipped to me. I got an email with the tracking info and Ryan was a great communicator during this phase as well. In the end, I am very happy with the set I acquired.
Zachary NewtonZachary Newton
16:32 14 Mar 24
You are in excellent hands here with Ryan if you are just embarking on your singing bowl journey.I came knowing I wanted a deep resonant bowl or two when I initially reached out. This began a months' long dialogue with Ryan, who was nothing but patient and generous with his time, sending me recordings of additional bowls not on the website and answering my many questions. Over this period, I spent hours listening to dozens of bowls, beginning to figure out what resonated most with me and expanding my search from there. I ended up putting together a small set. When I found a few bowls I was pretty sure I wanted to be the core of this set, Ryan offered to put them on hold for me while I spent some more time listening to additional bowls. So whether you know exactly what you want, or you just have a vague inclination and see yourself at the beginning of a journey--like I was--you have come to a good place.When I finally made up my mind and ordered my bowls, they arrived impeccably packed and already sounding familiar after having spent months listening to their recordings. I have been very happy with them. In the months since, I have spent many hours playing them, and have even added a couple more. I am still on that Journey I began a year ago, and I continue to value the care and patience that Ryan puts into his work as a guide along my path.
Philip MartinPhilip Martin
23:15 08 Mar 24
I heard about singing bowls many years ago but stored their existence in memory. I recently heard what they sounded like on a recording, which piqued my interest. I began looking into where I could obtain some of these bowls and found many options on the internet. I decided on Best Singing Bowls. The website has many different bowls that allow searching for specific notes, octaves, types of bowls, and much more. The website has an image of the bowl and two soundtracks that let you hear what the bowl sounds like. I found this very helpful and received help from Best Singing Bowls on how to play the bowls, the types of ringers and mallets, and the bowl's history. I asked many questions because I knew little about singing bowls. Delivery of the orders came exceptionally fast. I will look to Best Singing Bowls for future additions and ask for the promptly answered guidance I found immeasurably helpful. I found the entire experience very straightforward and seamless. The website has a vast amount of information on the many tabs related to singing bowls.
SvetaSveta
03:56 12 Feb 24
This was the best shopping experience I have ever had online. Ryan has provided an exceptional customer service. He replied to all my questions timely and his suggestions helped me to find the perfect addition to my set. I am very satisfied with the quality and the sound of my newly acquired ancient singing bowls. I received them within a few days of the purchase. Thank you, Ryan!
Jim ManganiJim Mangani
13:32 14 Dec 23
Ryan provides outstanding customer service, quality bowls, and every accessory you might need at highly competitive prices. I've purchased his precision mallet set which is a must for anybody serious about getting the most out of their instruments, in addition to a number of other accessories. I recently purchased a large jambati and Ryan answered all my questions quickly and courteously. He has always shipped items quickly and is a man of his word. You can feel confident doing business with him. On top of this, he has one of the best websites in the business for sorting through his expansive inventory. If you're considering buying anything from him, you should not hesitate!
“Best Singing Bowls is absolutely the right name for Ryan’s collection! It’s been many occasions for many years now that I have not only found bowls with beautiful sounds and energy in Ryan’s collection - but also the kind of bowls that you know the instant you ring them that they are special - unique - with a sound and a power beyond normal understanding. That’s the beauty and the magic of singing bowls. And on top of that Ryan is the best to guide you - always withimmediate precise response and he provides a fast and secure shipment. I can highly recommend Ryan and Best Singing Bowls.” - Shanti inga
Mojca StudenMojca Studen
07:03 22 Nov 23
The very experience of choosing the singing bowls was a pleasure; not only are the audio recordings of the bowls extremely high quality, the collector Ryan himself kindly offered to help me a lot in choosing the right bowls.The shipment arrived quickly, even across the Atlantic.I am absolutely delighted with the singing bowls I bought! The richness of sound and resonances is extraordinary. And all this for a fairly affordable price.Ryan thank you!
Laurie LowenLaurie Lowen
12:29 03 Nov 23
Ryan will answer every question that you have honestly and knowledgeably.He has gathered the best and largest collection of antique Tibetan Singing Bowls in the world.He has a huge inventory that is all cataloged with musical chakra note(s), vibration in hertz, condition, decoration, inscription and includes actual sound for you to listen to the bowl being used with a beater and with a wand. He has tons of wands and beaters to choose from, including those handmade by Frank Perry the world’s leading authority on Himalayan bowls in England.I started with one bowl and was so happy with it and what it did for my life, that over the past two years, I now have six bowls that I have gotten from Ryan. I love every single bowl and play them all every day just for me.These Tibetan bowls are way more powerful than the crystal bowls that are in vogue. Crystal bowls are machine made and have no history. The bowls that Ryan collects and sells are full of old wisdom and energy and years of use. If you listen while you play one, you will receive information and understanding and they will actually tell you how to play them and talk to you. I am a shamanic drum practitioner for the last 30 years and these are one of the best tools in addition to drums for healing that I have ever used. If you are ready to open yourself and receive healing and peace….get one of these bowls. I can guarantee you this as that has happened to me. You will find there is one there that is calling you. Blessings to whoever reads this🙏
Lisa BushmanLisa Bushman
21:26 17 Jan 23
Ryan has helped me develop a set of singing bowls for my sound studio in OH. He has a large selection of bowls and they have great sound quality. Love working with him!
at01musicat01music
19:22 28 Nov 22
I have been collecting antique singing bowls for over 10 years and just recently discovered Best Singing Bowls’ online store. In a short time, it has become my go-to for finding new bowls that add interest to my singing bowl arrangements. BSB’s inventory is quite large and includes types of antique bronze bowls with different geometries and thicknesses I haven’t seen or listened to before.At first, I was drawn just to familiar jambati and thadobati bowls, but after exploring other possibilities I have become a fan of the otherly-appearing trapezoid bowl. The first one I selected sounds cold as steel and reminds me of the clang of a temple bell I heard every day I was in Varanasi 24 years ago. Another small trapezoid I found has a tone similar to its thadobati companions and contributes a well-tuned 5th octave G#, the new crowning high note of my bowl set.My singing bowl experience has also been enlivened by the Best Singing Bowls Precision Mallet sets. The weights and hardness’s of the mallet heads are designed to produce varying tone colors for small, medium and large bowls. The length and balance of the stick handles make it easier for me to reach bowls and strike them accurately in a timely way with less effort than before. They are fun to use and have mostly replaced my use of other strikers. I love to play the bowls and listen to their tones and harmonics interacting to create kaleidoscopic, resonant patterns that gradually fade away into silence when playing stops. For me, it is an exquisite and deeply comforting sound (and no sound) experience.As others mention, the sound recordings and detailed physical descriptions on the website make it easy to compare bowls and select one that best suits your needs. I’ve also found BSB’s customer support to be very responsive and helpful. Pricing is quite reasonable and return policies are buyer-friendly. Highly recommended!
Dylan TweneyDylan Tweney
18:12 23 Jun 22
Ryan has an amazing collection of singing bowls (which I mostly use as bells) and he's really helpful at providing personalized advice and guidance on which ones to select. I have bought two bowls from him so far and they are magnificent: they produce a variety of resonant sounds with long sustain and great complexity. I also really appreciate his efforts to provide accurate descriptions and high-quality sound files for each bowl.
Mel JonesMel Jones
15:57 13 Apr 22
Just wanted to say thank you for the speedy delivery. The bowls are both wonderful and a great addition to my small but happy collection. Appreciate the service.
Sara JennenSara Jennen
13:12 05 Apr 22
I was looking for a singing bowl. Started by looking at new bowls that were priced ridiculously and were obviously factory produced. I stumbled upon this site and filled out the contact form. Ryan got back to me within a few hours. He travels the world to collect antique bowls. He is obviously knowledgeable and passionate about the work he does. After a conversation where he learned a little about me and my intended use of the bowls, I ended up letting him select 3 for me from his extensive collection. I received manipuri bowls that sound magnificent. I have already begun incorporating them into my yoga and meditation practice. I intend to add to my collection over time. I hope that someday I can visit California to select my bowls in person....or maybe even Nepal;) Sat Nam.
Patty CarmodyPatty Carmody
23:54 28 Mar 22
I have been wanting to own a singing bowl for a long time and finally have received a beautiful one from Ryan. His website is interesting on its own for history and detailed knowledge and also has the capability of playing the different tones the bowls can produce. Mine was very true to that sound. I can’t tell you how much I appreciated Ryan’s patience and assist in choosing a bowl and the correct mallets. Mine has a low resonance with higher overtones depending on how it is played and is absolutely beautiful. All of his bowls are antique so you don’t have to worry about whether it is a “new” one made to look old. Everything in the process from beginning to end was a pleasure. No worries and the bowls arrived safe and sound (0h - that’s a good pun ha!) Thank you Ryan!
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