The inspiration for my Müstair Bowls came from the vaulted ceilings of the Benedictine Convent of St John at Müstair, in the Swiss canton of Grisons (Graubünden). Around 1490, the convent church — dating back to the Carolingian period — was expanded, with the construction of a three-nave hall in Late Gothic style.

Whenever I visit the convent, I am fascinated by the magnificent ceilings: standing inside the church, I gaze up into what appear to me to be bowl-like structures.

Emerging from the columns, there are ribs which strikingly divide the painted ceilings into individual fields. These in turn combine to form a harmonious whole, extending like baldachins across the central and side naves.

Couldn't these painted ceilings actually be seen as "bowls" or vessels of religious activity, of worship, chanting and prayer, expressions of the human quest for order and limits in the face of the unfathomably divine?


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