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Title: The Lost-wax Casting in Bronze Age China: Art, Technology, and Social Agency
Authors: Peng, Peng
Advisors: Bagley, Robert W
Contributors: Art and Archaeology Department
Keywords: Bronze Age China
lost-wax casting
openwork interlace
section-mold casting
technological variations
Subjects: Art history
Asian history
Issue Date: 2018
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: The present dissertation adopts a comprehensive, thorough, and systematic approach toward early Chinese lost-wax castings. It first verifies that the lost-wax technique truly existed in Bronze Age China, and analyzes how it came to be used in each casting for which it is confirmed. After investigating the chronology and social context of the early lost-wax cast bronzes, it finally looks for the technological origin and artistic driving force of the lost-wax casting in Bronze Age China. As this dissertation shows, the dominant belief that lost-wax is the optimal method for metal casting, and its arrival was an earthshaking development, deserves more rigorous examination. In a broader sense, the dissertation provides a study on the concept of “norms,” which many historians and art historians constantly rely on, but seldom question or clarify. If we accept the lost-wax process as the norm in casting, early Chinese metalworkers must be regarded as favoring an inferior technology. By revealing the picture that Chinese founders often chose not to use the lost-wax process they had clearly mastered, the dissertation refutes the idea that lost-wax is the only “right way” to cast bronzes. This research aims to show that a “norm” is in many ways a misconception that twists our comprehension of art, technology, civilization, and history.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Art and Archaeology

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