Repoussage

AH1L13Vaph1Repousse is a practice that is as ancient as it is timeless.  The techniques of this primeval technique date back to Antiquity and have been used widely with gold and silver for fine detailed work and with copper, tin, and bronze for larger sculptures. Classical examples of repousse include bronze Greek armour plates from the 3rd century BC.

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Repoussage (or repousse as it is more commonly known) is a metalworking technique in which malleable metal is shaped by hammering from the reverse side to create a design in low relief.  Chasing is the opposite technique to repousse and they are used in conjunction with one another to create a finished piece (also known as embossing).  While repousse is used to work on the reverse of the metal to form a raised design on the front, chasing is used to refine the design on the front by sinking the metal. The adjectival form is “chased work.”

Bronze in the mirror of the form, wine of the mind.”

-Aeschylus

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Attribution to Sandra Shaw, Elite Auction, Wearable Art

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