The Art of Bronze Casting began in the fourth millennium B.C., and grew to become one of the most important prehistorical art forms ever known. Thus, the age called the Bronze Age began. Ancient lost-wax bronze castings had long endured the centuries, silently telling the story of ancient civilizations, their arts, their societies, and their religious systems. For instance, Chinese bronze castings represented traditional religious images; Indian bronzes pictorially depicted sacred animals; Egyptian and Greek bronzes symbolized gods; and ancient Greek bronze sculptures represented important people and events of that time.
Casting of bronze continued to be a prominent art form well into the Early Modern Period, where new methods were used to make the metal more malleable. The casting process remained essentially the same for the majority of time until the discovery of the quality of iron-based steel, which allowed tin-plated bronze to gain mass popularity. With the discovery of steel, all metals were transformed to either smooth or matte finishes. This made bronze casting materials much more versatile than they had been in the past.
Bronze casting began with the use of wheels to create simple designs. However, as the years progressed, the need for more intricate designs came about. This evolution of the lost-wax bronze process was helped by advances in chemistry and metallurgy. As new elements were added to the bronze, the old-fashioned wheels and molds were rendered useless. The new metal elements and new techniques allowed for the casting of intricate designs that had been previously impossible. The new processes allowed for the creation of bronzes that were nearly identical to the master craftsmen, but were far cheaper.
Bronze casting techniques were refined, allowing for the creation of complex, three dimensional objects. This marked a major advance over the lost-wax casting and gave birth to bronze sculptures. The artisans used a variety of new techniques to create realistic and highly detailed bronzes. From this point on, bronze casting has become synonymous with fine, high quality art and decorative items.
Today, the term bronze can refer to all forms of bronze metal objects, including bronzes, statues, plaques, vases, bells, swords, jewels, tuneful cast bells and other bronzing accessories. All of these are created using the very same processes, but due to technological advancements, they have begun to differ from one another. For instance, bronze sculptures created from solid bronze pieces have a polished surface, whereas cast bronzes have a matte finish. Some bronze items include both a polished surface and a matte finish.
When purchasing bronze sculpture, remember that each piece is made from either bronze or a different alloy of bronze. The most common types of bronze that is found today are bronzes and bronze statues. Bronze sculptures and jewelry are made from bronzes and other metals, while gold plated and other types of metals are used for creating jewelry. Bronze cast weapons are made from either bronze or copper; however, in the case of the latter, the metal is mixed with zinc to achieve the desired finish. These days, bonded bronze weapons and accessories are also available.