Editorial Photocolor Archive, Staatliche Museum, Berlin

Foundrymen on an Attic vase cast a life size bronze statue. This foundry scene, the most detailed to survive from the ancient world, decorates an early fifth century B.C. vase known as the Berlin Foundry Cup. It shows a construction technique, the piece casting of a life-size bronze statue, that simply would not have been possible when working with iron. On the left is the furnace in which bronze was melted; the young man peering out from behind it is probably working the bellows. The objects hanging to the right of the furnace are interpreted as votive offerings to ensure the successful outcome of the casting, but the presence of the saw has never been explained. On the far right, a foundry worker taps the mold with a hammer to release the statue from its mold. Between this worker’s feet is the statue’s head, ready to be joined to the bronze body.