Appliqué for a carriage with horse and rider

Solid bronze carriage appliqué representing the figures of a horse and rider. The rider is wearing a short tunic represented with the folds as if they were moving in the breeze, giving a sense of dynamism to the piece. His facial features are very schematic and static which contrasts with the details of the horse. The head of the animal is slightly inclined with the mouth open, the front left leg bent forward as if in movement, the back arched and the tail flying in movement. Just as in the case of the horse, the work on the reins, the bridle and the saddle stands out and can be clearly distinguished.

This appliqué is commonly known as chariot fittings, a bronze element attached to the front of the carriage and used to hold the straps that go from the horse to the driver. Apart from this element Roman carriages had small bronze sculptures in the back lateral area and also in the centre of the wheels. They were both decorations and at the same time functional and necessary pieces.

The technique of lost wax casting is a sculptural procedure using a mould made from a prototype of the piece to be worked, and this prototype is usually made from beeswax. This is covered with a thick layer of soft material, usually clay, which then solidifies. Once this has hardened it is put in a kiln where the wax inside melts and leaks out from expressly made holes in the clay. In its place molten metal is injected and this takes on the exact form of the mould. To remove the final piece the mould must be removed.

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