Bronze Sculptures

 

 

Copper was the earliest metal to be discovered by man. As early as 3500 BC, man was smelting copper and tin together to make bronze. This was the beginning of the Bronze Age. In India, the Bronze Age began in around 3300 BC in the Indus Valley Civilization. The history of bronze in India tells us that people were using the alloy to make bronze sculptures, vessels, weapons, tools and other items.

What is Bronze?

Bronze is basically an alloy of copper and tin and zinc. Sometimes, other metals are also added. Bronze is hard and durable. It is brownish in color. It is used either in its sheet form or cast into a particular shape.

Bronze is the preferred choice for sculpting because it is strong and holds its shape. It is also comparatively lighter than marble and is hence easy to transport.

Method of Casting Bronze Statues

Initially, bronze was used to make solid sculptures. It was only later that hollow casting was discovered, and bronze sculptures ever since have been created using this method. It is also called the lost wax method.

 


  • The first step is the creation of the model. This is made of wax and is an exact copy of what the final bronze sculpture will look like. It is complete with all the carvings and detail.
  • In the next three stages, a mold is created. A thin layer of china clay mixed with water is applied over the wax model, using a paintbrush. It is allowed to dry for two days and is repeated twice.
  • Then, a pasty mixture is applied over the model by hand. It is applied to a thickness of about 2 centimeters. A few holes are made at the bottom of the mold once the paste is dry. Through these, the bronze will later be poured. For the time being, thin wax rods are inserted into them.
  • Thereafter, a mixture of clay, rice husk, and sand is applied. This is allowed to dry.
  • The mold with the plugged openings facing downwards is placed in an oven. The raw bronze is also placed in the oven so as to melt it. Bronze melts at approximately 1800 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • During the process of firing, the wax melts and is lost through the holes in the mold. The clay mold hardens, and the bronze melts.
  • The bronze is then poured into the holes. It is allowed to cool for two days.
  • Then, the mold is chipped away, leaving behind the bronze sculpture.


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