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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.


The Freer|Sackler is currently closed for renovations, updates, and gallery reinstallation. The popular exhibition Turquoise Mountain: Artists Transforming Afghanistan is still on view in the International Gallery. (Enter through the Ripley Center.) Please join us for our weekend-long reopening celebration on October 14 and 15, 2017.