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Home > Materials Of Sculpture > Bronze Sculptures
Bronze Sculptures
• History of Bronze Sculpt.. • Cultural Significance of.. • Aesthetic Appreciation o..
Metal sculptures are very much important in sculptural history of India. These are more durable & strong from the points of preservation. Bronze sculptures are an important milestone in the history of metal sculptures of India. In India, the Bronze metal started its use, mostly devoted to in a sacred context. In the seventh century & onwards in south India has images that are made of various gods and goddesses, of saints and deified mortals. Such sculptures are firmly related to puja or worship.

Bronze Sculpture of NatrajBut important point is that Bronzes almost never were placed in the Garba griha, with the help of them murthis are created & worshiped. Figures of Bronzes mean a concrete & long lasting objects. Generally,Bronze sculptures are having a definite shape and fixed measurements. These images of God were placed in any location of sacred place, as it is believed that in it the divinity was manifested . With the glimpse on this, perhaps the true devotee come in temple receives close feelings of gaining a vision or darshana.

Preparation of Bronzes Sculptures
In history, images were made from many metals but the images from `Bronzes` were the most important. Bronze is a type of alloy. And the method that was used to make sculptures from them was the Lost wax method or cire perdue.

Lost-Wax Method
The ancient skills of creating or casting from Bronze were almost lost as no record available from its recent years. But from Cholas period, the method of preparation is avaliable.Actually it was the period of revival of Bronze art - creating images & artifacts with using Bronze. The method with which the artisans created the Bronze casting was known as the Lost-wax process. Many references of this method were found in the history.

The artisan preferred the Lost-wax method as it had allowed them to achieve the greatest standard. Every small detail was achieved in case of each statue or sculpture with using this method. In the starting, a wax model with exact proportions is prepared in beeswax, with all the intricate details in the statue. Then the wax model is covered with the help of a thick layer of wet clay and kept to dry out. When the clay is baked in a brick oven, it becomes dry. Some of the openings that are left in the clay allow the melting wax to escape from it. And leaving behind a detailed mold in a clay. In this process, the original wax statue is lost and therefore this method is called as `Lost-wax method.`

Afterwards, hot molten Bronze in a red colour is slowly poured into the mold. Minimum three days are necessary for cooling before the mold can be broken and the Bronze statue removed. Because every mold is broken at the time to carry out the statue from the mold, each Bronze statue prepared with this is one of the kinds.

To give a final touch, the artisan carves the statue with hammer and special chisels‚ . The Bronze statue in its completed stage literally shines like gold. But as time goes by, the statue becomes dull like a Copper or Brass and green oxides start forming in the cracks and crevasses of statue. This method uses a oxidation process that is natural and caused by mixing of the Bronze with the elements in the air.

Base metals from which Bronze is formulated are Copper, Brass, Silver, and Gold. In ancient times, the proportion used in the preparation was eight measures of Copper or Brass to twelve measures of silver and sixteen measures of Gold. But in modern times, Silver and Gold are used in small extent in Bronze casting due to its cost.

Bronze Sculpture of KaliThese Bronze images called utsavar were taken out in processions, while the stone images known as moolavar remained in the inner sanctum. Temple processions have been a part of religious life in the south for close to 2000 years. There are references to them in Sangam literature and in later medieval bhakti poetry. On special festive occasions, these images used to be placed on specially made rathas or vahanas and carried out of the temple by devotees on their shoulders. After doing the rounds of the city streets, the image would be taken to the riverbank or the seashore for holy bath and worship.

Importance of Bronze sculptures
As the Bronze sculptures are long lasting, can be said as created for eternity. The sculpture of Bronzes immensely radiates a sense of immortality and powerfully reflects the fascination and mystery about the ancient cultures of Buddhism, Jainism and Hinduism. These art works are a visual interpretations of celestial beings, illustrate about the human condition of transcendence through which he led to spiritual enlightenment.

Therefore, from historic point of view, they should not be treated as only some pieces of art, but evident of our spiritual journey. Today though they are somewhat isolated from their original surroundings, where they first appeared - the sacred shrines and temples, still can connect man with the divinity.

A great number of Indian texts have been written over a period of 2000 years. Though largely philosophical and religious, they contain numerous references to metal objects. With the various forms of religions spreading from India all over Asia, many of their metal casting techniques were also adopted by the cultures coming under these influences. These techniques had set the standards for the making of temple sculpture.

During the preparation of sacred images from Bronze, a keen observation regarding the proportion and conformity was given. These two factors played a crucial role in the development and evolution of Asian bronze culture. Observations of this kind were closely adopted and artists were committed to produce accordingly, without failing. It is seen that various techniques employed for creation were similar, the Indian tradition & Himalayan regions follow many common techniques, if comparative study of the images is done. But, in spite of these similarities in rules of proportion and iconography, the unique stylistic features are clearly noted. Distinct differences in the art of these various regions are apparent, as at each place a different interpretation of style and modeling was used.

Some of the features of the Bronze sculpture are closely linked with the regional basis. Some of the characteristics of Bronzes sculptures that are found commonly, can be marked on the basis of geographical division, such as:

Western Indian Bronze
In western side, a style of metal sculpture that flourished in India from the 6th to the 12th century and later, especially in the area of modern Gujarat and Rajasthan states comes under this category.

Bronze Sculpture of MahavirMost of the Bronze sculptures from this side are associated with Jainism. In that, representations of savior figures of Mahavira and many ritual objects such as incense burners and lamp bearers were prepared. If the size is considered, they were comparatively small. Maybe they were intended for private worship. They were made with using lost-wax casting method. The eyes and ornaments of the statue were frequently inlaid with silver and gold metal, to add look in it.

Eastern Indian Bronze
In the Eastern side, Bronze sculptures produced from the 9th century in the area of modern Bihar and West Bengal in India is covered in this category.The usage of Bronze in this region is also known as Pala Bronze.

Bronze Sculpture of ShivaMost of these metal sculptures were made from alloys of the eight metals. All Bronze sculptures were produced by lost-wax casting only. These mainly represent various divinities such as Shiva, Vishnu. All these statues were small in sizes and can be moved from one place to another. Most of the sculptures were produced in the great Buddhist monasteries and distributed throughout South Asia, from this region.

South Indian Bronze
From the southern region, most of the creative artwork of Bronze was seen. The cult images that are marked for the finest achievements of Indian visual art are from this category.

Bronze Sculpture of VisnuThis artwork in Bronze contained the figures of Hindu divinities, especially in the various iconographic forms of the god Shiva and Lord Vishnu. Many times, they were shown with their consorts and attendants. One of the biggest achievements was the images were produced in large numbers from the 8th to the 16th century. In this, mainly the Thanjavur and Tiruchchirappalli district of modern Tamil Nadu was a pioneer. They had maintained a high standard of excellence for almost 1,000 years. The icons created in Bronze, were ranging from small household images to almost life-size sculptures intended to be carried in temple.
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