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The artist first sculpts in soft wax; then makes a rubber mold of the wax model. From the rubber mold he creates multiple wax impressions of the original.
Each wax impression is encased in a ceramic shell and placed in an oven; with temperatures exceeding fifteen hundred degrees, the wax melts rapidly. The ceramic shell is packed in sand and molten bronze is poured into the shell.
When the bronze cools, the ceramic shell is broken. The bronze casting is then finished with meticulous handwork to capture and enhance every detail of the original wax model.
Bronze (an alloy of copper and tin) first appeared in the Near East toward the end of the fourth millennium B.C. There exists no definitive record of when the lost wax method of casting was invented.
The earliest users of this method began with a clay core roughly in the shape of the subject to be sculpted. The core was then covered with wax, and the wax was sculpted into the finished form. When the wax hardened, it in turn was covered with clay.
The entire object was fired, hardening the clay and melting the wax. The space vacated by the wax was then filled with molten bronze. When the bronze cooled and hardened, the clay was removed from outside and inside. The bronze object was then cleaned and polished by hand.
The basic principle of the lost wax method of casting remains unchanged, although many new techniques and refinements have been developed. The most significant development was the introduction of an intermediate mold from which multiple wax models are made.
Cast bronze is a permanent medium. Archaeologists have unearthed bronze artifacts buried thousands of years.
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