The primary reason Asian bronze sculptures are priced so low is the quality of the bronze metal itself, the quality of the craftmanship, and the price of labor and working conditions.
The United States has a minimum standard for bronze of at least 90% copper and most American made sculpture is cast with bronze which is 95% (or higher) copper. Asian sculpture on the other hand tests at around 50% to 55% copper.
A sculpture's resistance to corrosion is a function of the copper content in bronze. This determines the longevity of your artwork, bronze with a 95% plus copper content is made to last thousands of years regardless of the environment. Bronze with a low copper content will begin to develop a corrosive residue almost immediately (similar to the corrosion on a car's battery terminals)and depending on the amount ferrous compounds in the metal will begin to rust as well. Repair work on low quality bronze sculpture is nearly impossible
Another problem with low quality bronze is the colorization process. The patina (color) of a sculpture is created by a reaction between the copper content in the bronze and chemicals applied by the artist. Each foundry has it's own proprietary formula for bronze. However a 95% copper, 4% Manganese and 1% silicon is the baseline for bronze made in the United States and allows for patina's that are longest lasting and richest in color.
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