Invented for war, perfected by art

The development of bronze was so significant to human history that its emergence in cultures around the world is referred to as the bronze age. Around 3500 BCE, smiths in western Asia smelted copper, which was soft and plentiful, with the much rarer and more brittle tin. The resulting fusion was more durable than any metal previously available to humans, and became sought-after for weapons and armor. By 2500 BCE bronze had spread to the Aegean world, and over the next 500 years traveled throughout Europe. As with many technologies developed for war, bronze was soon adopted as an artistic medium. Sculptures in bronze have lasted millennia, and the material is still used today for public art, either polished to a golden hue, or left to accrue a regal green patina.

Read More
Head of a Ruler, Mesopotamia

Head of a Ruler 2300 – 2000BCE

Lion of Mari, Mesopotamia

Lion of Mari 2000BCE

Nebra Sky Disk, Bronze Age

Nebra Sky Disk 1600BCE

Bronze Bull Leaping Figure, Aegean Civilizations

Bronze Bull Leaping Figure 1600 – 1450BCE

Ritual wine warmer (Jia), Ancient China

Ritual wine warmer (Jia) 1400 – 1250BCE

Hafted axe with dragons, Ancient China

Hafted axe with dragons 1200 – 1100BCE

Minoan Bronze Tweezers, Aegean Civilizations

Minoan Bronze Tweezers 2900 – 1050BCE

Ritual wine cup (Zhi), Ancient China

Ritual wine cup (Zhi) 1100 – 1000BCE

Harness Trapping in the Shape of a Horse, Bronze Age

Harness Trapping in the Shape of a Horse 900BCE

Iron Axe Head, Iron Age

Iron Axe Head 900BCE

Ritual grain server (Gui), Ancient China

Ritual grain server (Gui) 1000 – 900BCE

Master-of-Animals Standard, Iron Age

Master-of-Animals Standard 800BCE

Circular “pilgrim” Flask, The Etruscans

Circular “pilgrim” Flask 750BCE

Bronze Basin, Bronze Age

Bronze Basin 700BCE

Pair of Hands, The Etruscans

Pair of Hands 700BCE

Kushite priest wearing leopard's head, Kingdom of Kush

Kushite priest wearing leopard's head 712 – 664BCE

Falcon of Horus, Ancient Egypt

Falcon of Horus 663BCE

Isis and Horus, Ancient Egypt

Isis and Horus 640BCE

Bronze Etruscan Woman, The Etruscans

Bronze Etruscan Woman 600BCE

Phoenician-style ewer, The Iberians

Phoenician-style ewer 600BCE

Vix Krater, Ancient Greece

Vix Krater 530BCE

Bronze Statuette of a Bull, Ancient Greece

Bronze Statuette of a Bull 500BCE

Etruscan Mirror, The Etruscans

Etruscan Mirror 500BCE

Mars de Todi, The Etruscans

Mars de Todi 500BCE

Chimera of Arezzo, The Etruscans

Chimera of Arezzo 400BCE

Cista Depicting a Dionysian Revel and Perseus with Medusa's Head, The Etruscans

Cista Depicting a Dionysian Revel and Perseus with Medusa's Head 400BCE

Torc Celtic Necklace, The Celts

Torc Celtic Necklace 400BCE

Etruscan Mirror, The Etruscans

Etruscan Mirror 350BCE

Horse head Medici Riccardi, Ancient Greece

Horse head Medici Riccardi 325BCE

Ombra Della Sera, The Etruscans

Ombra Della Sera 300BCE

Hercules of the Forum Boarium, Ancient Greece

Hercules of the Forum Boarium 200BCE

Liver of Piacenza, The Etruscans

Liver of Piacenza 200BCE

Zhong Bell, 戰國秦 青銅鐘, Ancient China

Zhong Bell, 戰國秦 青銅鐘 400 – 200BCE

Athletes, Ancient Greece

Athletes 100BCE

Boy with Thorn (Spinario), Ancient Greece

Boy with Thorn (Spinario) 100BCE

The Orator, The Etruscans

The Orator 90BCE

The Desborough Mirror, Iron Age

The Desborough Mirror 50BCE

Waterloo Bridge Helmet, The Celts

Waterloo Bridge Helmet 150 – 50BCE

Statue of Artemis Ephesus, Ancient Greece

Statue of Artemis Ephesus 2BCE

The Battersea Shield, The Celts

The Battersea Shield 350BCE – 50CE

Bronze Military Diploma, Ancient Rome

Bronze Military Diploma 113 – 114CE

Bronze Statuette of Jupiter, Ancient Rome

Bronze Statuette of Jupiter 200CE

The Balmaclellan Mirror, Iron Age

The Balmaclellan Mirror 200CE

Portrait of the emperor Caracalla, Ancient Rome

Portrait of the emperor Caracalla 212 – 217CE

Bronze Statue of the emperor Trebonianus Gallus, Ancient Rome

Bronze Statue of the emperor Trebonianus Gallus 251CE

Hercules Mastai, Ancient Greece

Hercules Mastai 200 – 300CE

Late Gupta Period Buddha, Classical India

Late Gupta Period Buddha 700CE

Seated Buddha, Classical India

Seated Buddha 700CE

Enghøj Brooch, Viking Age

Enghøj Brooch 800CE

Human face pendant, Igbo-Ukwu

Human face pendant 800 – 900CE

More Art Mediums
View All
Pencil, Mediums


Terracotta, Mediums


Ink, Mediums


From the caves to the desktop

By continuing to browse Obelisk you agree to our Cookie Policy