casting in bronze
Was a delicate operation demanding a high degree of skill. The first step in the process was to model the figure roughly in carefully seasoned clay over which, once the clay had dried, a coating of wax was laid. After the wax had been carved into the shape of the desired statue or relief-work of extreme sculptural precision — a new layer was laid over it: a combination of burned ox horn, iron filings, and cow dung was mixed together with water, ed into a paste, and spread over the wax-coated model with a brush of hog sables. Several layers of soft clay were then applied, each of which was allowed to dry before its successor was overspread. The result was a shapeless mass bound together with iron hoops — the lumpy chrysalis from which the bronze statue was to emerge. This creation was placed in a kiln and baked until the clay hardened and the layer of wax, as it melted, oozed small vent holes made for that purpose, usually at the base. A hollow was thereby left into which bronze, melted in a furnace, was poured. The final step in the process was to break away the shapeless husk of baked clay and expose the bronze figure (King, 2000).