Archive for September, 2011

Which is better — new or old?

September 22, 2011

I get this question about the metal Himalayan (aka Tibetan) bowls. Which is better — new or old?

I sell both, and I have my reasons. Let me tell you a few.

Mostly, I love the old bowls because they’ve been handled and used. I love them because they were made over a hundred years ago and they’ve been carried forward. I love them because they generally have more complex sound quality, which is likely derived from their having more metals.

I am grateful for the new bowls, because they cost less and so I can offer an affordable alternative for people to purchase. I am often delighted by the clarity of the new bowls (I keep two myself for this reason), likely because they have fewer metals. I am also always a little in awe of new bowls because they haven’t been handled and played and so they will develop their first voice with their new steward.

So when we get to qualifiers like better and best, it’s good to take a step back. Ask yourself which kind of bowl are you attracted to — new or old? And why do you want a bowl? What do you hope to glean from being in the bowl’s presence and playing it or meditating with it? Then let yourself relax and see if you are drawn to a particular bowl or two. See if you can play it (some bowls will play for some people, but others will not). Experience and note how you feel when you do play it. Listen to both the gonging and rimming arias.

If the bowl is for you, you’ll know it. And often enough, the bowl chooses you, not the other way around. New or old, you’ll find what’s right for you.