Dating bronze statues
The chemical analysis of bronzes alone provides little help in clearing up doubts about authenticity.
In the last decades, research institutes have carried out thousands of chemical analyses on old and antique bronzes so that today there are statistics available to everyone indicating the typical composition of alloys in determined periods and areas of production.
Bronzes constitute therefore, together with ceramics, the oldest objects to be found on the antiques market. Whatever an artist could do in antiquity with relatively primitive tools can be easily copied today by a technician with the sophisticated means and know-how at his disposal.
Nearly all bronze statuary and even a number of objects of smaller dimensions were created by the lost-wax method.
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Copies and fakes have an almost smooth inner surface.
In the case of large-scale Benin heads, the rule of thumb is that the smaller the metal wall thickness, the more antique the object.
For this reason the wall thickness of statues was kept as small as possible.
As a result the outer surface has roughly the same contours as the inner surface (photo Ife head).
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We also have Mongolian, Tibetan, and Nepalese Thangkas.