Skip to main content
Select Source:

cire perdue

cire perdue (sēr pĕrdü´) [Fr.,=lost wax], sculptural process of metal casting that may be used for hollow and solid casting. The sculptor makes a model in plaster or clay that is then coated with wax. This model is then covered with a perforated plaster or clay mold. When heated, the mold will "lose" the wax (hence the name of the method) as it runs out of the holes in the plaster. Molten lead is then poured into the space formerly occupied by the wax. After the work cools, the sculptor breaks the mold, removes the plaster core, and files or polishes the metal product. One can also make hollow sculptures by piece-casting, which, as its name suggests, involves the construction of a work in pieces rather than as a whole. The most important advantage of the lost-wax method is that it eases the casting of a sculpture with elaborate curves. This method also has considerable disadvantages, such as the loss of the wax "original" and the failure of rapidly cooling molten metal to fill all of the space left by the removed wax. Donatello's David was made by the lost-wax method and, as a result, is full of patches. This method has been used for centuries in the great civilizations of Mesopotamia, Africa, China, and Greece.

See G. Pack, Jewelry Making by the Lost Wax Process (1968); H. Jackson, Lost Wax Bronze Casting (1972).

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"cire perdue." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 17 Feb. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"cire perdue." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (February 17, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/cire-perdue

"cire perdue." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved February 17, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/cire-perdue

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

cire perdue

cire perdue (Fr. ‘lost wax’) Method of casting metal objects (usually bronzes) used since classical antiquity. First the object is covered in wax then covered in a heat-proof mould. When heated, the wax melts away and the metal is poured into the space it occupied.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"cire perdue." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 17 Feb. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"cire perdue." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (February 17, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/cire-perdue

"cire perdue." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved February 17, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/cire-perdue

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.