The Bronze Age

Bowl Fountain

The Bronze Age came into existence late in the third millennium B.C. Bronze is a metal alloy consisting mainly of copper and tin, sometimes aluminum, and zinc are added to change the molecular structure. It’s a hard but brittle alloy. Its use became so widespread that the period known as the Bronze Age was named for this metal alloy, a period of time particularly known for its skilled metalwork. Before bronze copper was the metal of choice, but with the addition of tin to the copper, it gave way to the much stronger new bronze material.

Probably some of the most important uses for bronze was the making of weapons, tools, and armor. An earlier bronze was composed with arsenic originated in Susa and other nearby cities of Mesopotamia. Fair trade helped the production of bronze because copper and tin ore were seldom found in the areas. Bronze artifacts were once used in ceremonies most predominately in China. One early example of a Chinese bronze is a vessel that may have been created as early as 722 B.C. and depicts a pattern of interconnected dragons. Other beautiful and complexly hand carved bronze pieces are some of the old world’s best known works of art. A later softer bronze material allowed for greater detail and stylish artistry.

Iron eventually displaced bronze in many industries, but bronze remains an important art medium. The ancient artist used the “lost wax method” to mold bronze. This is the most precise metal casting technique in existence, ensuring accurate reproductions of the original sculpture and exquisite detail. All bronze pieces are cast from a wax model regardless of the original material the model was sculpted in usually in clay or wax. “Lost wax” casting method was founded thousands of years ago. It is still used today and is an extremely labor-intensive, skilled and expensive process.

It is safe to conclude that the invention of bronze not only influenced the old world but to this day influences our world.