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Lecture | Friends of the Kern Institute lecture

How to make a ‘Cōḻa bronze’? Theory and practice of bronze casting in South India and the Rijksmuseum research on Asian bronzes

  • Anna Ślączka
Date
25 January 2018
Time
Series
Lecture series Society of Friends of the Kern Institute (VVIK)
Address
Matthias de Vrieshof
Matthias de Vrieshof 3
2311 BZ Leiden
Room
Zaal 104 (The Verbarium)

How to make a ‘Cōḻa bronze’? Theory and practice of bronze casting in South India and the Rijksmuseum research on Asian bronzes

There are numerous publications dealing with the subject of the Cōḻa bronzes. Considering the amount of literature on this topic, one gets the impression that everything that needs to be said has already been said. But nothing can be further from the truth. The majority of the publications discuss in detail iconography and style, leaving out the technological aspects, which are of less interest to art historians. Information about production technology, if included at all, is rarely based on scientific research. The same is true for the instructions allegedly found in the ancient Sanskrit and Tamil treatises on art, which are often misquoted. The results are incorrect, or at best imprecise, statements often repeated by several authors.

In this lecture, I will discuss the techniques of bronze casting in the Cōḻa period and today in an attempt to clarify the often contradictory statements found in publications. Attention will be given to topics such as solid versus hollow casting and the so-called pañcaloha, an alloy of five metals. Finally, I will present the preliminary results technological research on bronze images from the collection of the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.

 

Anna Ślączka

 

Anna A. Ślączka is the curator of South Asian art at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam since 2009. She obtained her PhD in Indology from Leiden University in 2006 working on the South Indian śaivāgamas (Temple Consecration Rituals in Ancient India. Text and Archaeology. Brill, 2007). Hereafter she conducted research at the International Institute for Asian Studies (Leiden) and the École française d’Extrême-Orient in Pondicherry, and worked as a lecturer in Sanskrit at Leiden University.

 

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