Western Asia and the Near East was the first region to enter the Bronze Age, which began with the rise of the Mesopotamian civilisation of Sumer in the mid 4th millennium BC, a similar time to India. In Ancient Egypt the Bronze Age begins in the Early Dynastic Period of the early 3rd millennium BC, a similar time to the Aegean civilisations. The Ancient Greeks considered bronze statuary as the highest form of sculpture, revered above marble, although many examples have been lost often due to the sculptures being melted down for use of the bronze; many examples of bronze sculptures are only known due to Roman copies in marble. Benin bronzes, though closer to brass, from Nigeria form a major example of Ancient African art and similarly bronze work from Ancient China forms some of its most interesting artefacts. Bronze works that survive today can be recognised by their very beautiful green patination often developed over thousands of years.
Browse our selection of bronze antiquities, from ancient statues and weaponry.

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