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From early Aegean bronze swords to the Sword of Goujian, bronze was the preferred metal for swords and armor for thousands of years before being replaced by more readily mined iron ore. Bronze has both a high tensile strength and a very high ductility. Meaning it resists bending but when it does, it can be bent back without damage.
With a density greater than 8 g/cm³ bronze is even more dense than iron. A heavy mini resists tipping over and feels solid in your hand. A heavy mini makes a very satisfying thump when placed on the table.
Even after thousands of years in the ground bronze coins from the Roman empire retain their fine details. As Alan Weisman says in his wonderful book, The World Without Us, “Don’t be fooled… by massive steel buildings, steamrollers, tanks, railway tracks, or the shine on your stainless cutlery. Bronze sculpture will outlast all of it.”
Since the dawn of time humans have chosen bronze to immortalize their greatest triumphs in bronze. Either polished to a lustrous shine or brought to a beautiful patina, bronze is used in finest works of art in cultures around the world.
Bronze is an alloy consisting primarily of copper, commonly with about 12–12.5% tin and often with the addition of other metals (such as tin, aluminium, manganese, nickel or zinc) and sometimes non-metals or metalloids such as arsenic, phosphorus or silicon. These additions produce a range of alloys that may be harder than copper alone, or have other useful properties, such as strength, ductility, or machinability.
Bronze statues were regarded as the highest form of sculpture in Ancient Greek art, though survivals are few, as bronze was a valuable material in short supply in the Late Antique and medieval periods. Many of the most famous Greek bronze sculptures are known through Roman copies in marble, which were more likely to survive.
In India, bronze sculptures from the Kushana (Chausa hoard) and Gupta periods (Brahma from Mirpur-Khas, Akota Hoard, Sultanganj Buddha) and later periods (Hansi Hoard) have been found. Indian Hindu artisans from the period of the Chola empire in Tamil Nadu used bronze to create intricate statues via the lost-wax casting method with ornate detailing depicting the deities of Hinduism. The art form survives to this day, with many silpis, craftsmen, working in the areas of Swamimalai and Chennai.
In antiquity other cultures also produced works of high art using bronze. For example: in Africa, the bronze heads of the Kingdom of Benin; in Europe, Grecian bronzes typically of figures from Greek mythology; in east Asia, Chinese ritual bronzes of the Shang and Zhou dynasty—more often ceremonial vessels but including some figurine examples.
Bronze continues into modern times as the material of choice for monumental statuary.
Strong, heavy, and a lovely dark patina.
The deep soft luster of white bronze makes it a favorite of jewelers when a stronger material is needed.
Exciting to work with and a beautiful gold color.