Bronze or copper for statues

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Bronze or copper for statues

Post by Toenail » Mon Mar 05, 2018 9:49 pm

Traditionally tibetan buddha statues seem to be made from copper. Is there a difference quality-wise, or merit-wise in getting it in bronze? What is the reason for them to be generally made out of copper? Bronze seems to be cheaper, is it lower quality, like will it break easily? Honestly, plain copper statues I do not find very aesthetic, they also change color quickly and then look dirty.

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Re: Bronze or copper for statues

Post by Mantrik » Mon Mar 05, 2018 10:17 pm

Are you sure about that first sentence? Which traditions do you cite?
Alloys seem far more common than pure copper.

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Re: Bronze or copper for statues

Post by Lingpupa » Tue Mar 06, 2018 10:53 am

Copper is quite expensive, partly because it has such useful electrical and thermal properties. Bronze (and brass) are copper alloys, but the main part is copper, so I doubt there would be much difference in the material cost.

Plain copper is relatively soft and can be worked more easily, at least in some respects. For some applications (wiring for conductivity, piping for bendability, heatsinks...) copper is better, but for many others the greater strength of bronze makes it superior, and it would surely be preferable for almost any kind of statuary.

And, as Mantrik suggested, I don't think I've come across many statues in plain copper, though I do have a Vajrayogini in what looks to be a very high percentage copper, probably for the redness.

Bronze is good!
All the best
Alex Wilding
Stupa in the Snow blog at

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