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Bronze Casting

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Bronze casting is an ancient form of art creation.  First used with the formation of clay molds, bronze casting quickly became a vital part of culture and warfare.

Foundries have used this method of producing weapons, tools, and art sculptures for thousands of years.  When it was first discovered, it revolutionized the world.  The primary component of this metal alloy is copper.  It is often mixed with tin.  Other metals are also occasionally used in the alloy.  These combinations with copper produce a hard, brittle substance.  It is suitable for creating durable, accurately shaped pieces of artwork. 

 

The process for bronze casting is based on a principle of melting points.  Originally, the “lost wax” method was used with tremendous success in the Middle East.  In this method, a wax figure is formed.  Wax is very easy to sculpt, and therefore, makes a wonderful medium for creating intricate pieces of work.  The wax is then covered in clay and left to harden.  When the clay is cooked in a fire, the wax melts and seeps out of the mold, leaving behind a clay cast in which the metal alloy can be formed.  The alloy is melted into liquid form and then poured into the waiting clay.  Once inside, the bronze begins to cool and harden.  In this process, it expands just before it completes it's cooling process. This alloy's unique quality of expanding prior to setting allows it to fill each crevice of the mold.  By doing this, the metal is able to pick up minute impressions and details from the mold with amazing clarity.  Because of this quality, pieces are created in this manner that have exquisite decorative artwork on the exterior.  Vessels used for ritual ceremonies have been found from ancient Chinese cultures.  On another continent, the Egyptians used the same idea to create intricate miniature statues that have survived to this day.

 

These pieces of art pass down valuable information through the generations about practices in religion and social networks.  They give indications of which cultures influenced each other and in what areas of life that impact was most greatly felt.  For instance, finding artifacts created with this same technology and decorated with similar designs in vary different parts of the world let archeologists know that those societies had contact, shared information, and maybe even technology.

 

However, many lovely works of art created by bronze casting have not continued into the present day because of the value of this alloy for other purposes.  It is greatly valued for tools and weaponry. 

 

Today, these incredible representatives of technological advancement from the ancient world are created in a slightly more complicated method.  A process involving rubber molds, wax positive, sprung & grating, investing, pouring, and divesting is used to create these metal alloys.  A final step, Patina, has been added along the years.  It involves using chemicals to alter the color and look of the metal alloy.  This spectacular finish gives the end product a very different look from its ancient counterparts.

 

Still beautiful, bronze casting represents a significant portion of sculpturing today.  It's durability and flexibility for use have ensured its continuance for thousands of year and will continue to make it valuable well into the future

  • Bronze Patinas
  • Mold Making and Casting
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