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Bronze Casting

Every bronze in a south Indian temple is unique. Each is created using the lost-wax (cire perdue) process, in which molten metal is poured into a hand-fashioned clay mold that is later broken apart to yield the final work of art.

These photographs document contemporary sculptors and bronze casters at a south Indian bronze workshop in Swamimalai, Tamil Nadu, which adjoins the temple town of Kumbakonam. These artists still employ the process used in the Chola period.

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Top: Details are added to the wax image with a wooden chisel. Bottom: Cold chiseling. Photos: Neil Greentree.


As renovation work continues in the Freer Gallery, the Sackler Gallery also will close on July 10, 2017. This museum-wide closure will allow us to completely reinstall our exhibitions and revitalize features to improve your visit. Both spaces will reopen on October 14, 2017, when we will welcome the public back to the Freer|Sackler: two galleries, one destination. For your safety, all visitors will have their bags checked. See the complete list of restricted items and bag sizes.