SCULPTURING MACHINESby@archibaldwilliams


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The savage who, with a flint point or bone splinter, laboriously scratched rude figures on the walls of his cave dwelling, did the best he was capable of to express the emotions which affect the splendidly equipped sculptor of to-day; he wished to record permanently some shape in which for the time he was interested, religiously or otherwise. The sun, moon and stars figure largely in primitive religions as objects of worship. They could be easily suggested by a few strokes of a tool. But when mortals turned from celestial to terrestrial bodies, and to the worship of human or animal forms—the "graven images" of the Bible—a much higher level of art was reached by the sculptor, who endeavoured to give faithful representations in marble of the great men of the time and of the gods which his nation acknowledged. The Egyptians, whose colossal monuments strew the banks of the Nile, worked in the most stubborn materials—basalt, porphyry and granite—which would turn the edge of highly tempered steel, and therefore raise wonder in our minds as to the nature of the tools which the subjects of the Pharaohs must have possessed. Only one chisel, of a bronze so soft that its edge turned at the first stroke [336]against the rock under which it was found, has so far come to light. Of steel tools there is no trace, and we are left to the surmise that the ancients possessed some forgotten method of hardening other metals—including bronze—to a pitch quite unattainable to-day. Whatever were their implements, they did magnificent work; witness the splendid sculptures of vast proportions to be found in the British Museum; and the yet huger statues, such as those of Memnon and those at Karnak, which attract tourists yearly to Egypt.
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Archibald Williams

Archibald Williams was a prolific British author and journalist who lived from 1871 to 1934.

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