Metalwork in the Andes and Japan: A comparative study

Emilia Ferraro (Lead / Corresponding author), Sandra Wilson, Katharina Vones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper focuses on the centuries’ long traditions of metalworking in the Andes and Japan. It is framed within the approach set forth by material scientists Cyril Smith and Heather Lechtman whose work focussed on Japan and the pre-Hispanic Andes respectively. Although different in their perspectives, their work contributed to the establishment of the field of material science at the intersection of history, archaeology, and metallurgy, and launched a wide scholarly agenda for the study of metalwork traditions well beyond these regions that brings to the fore the importance of focussing on the often-disregarded element of tecknē to fully understand the metal objects under scrutiny. The paper argues that both Andean and Japanese metalwork traditions originally stemmed from a spiritual quest and, although subsequently both would be increasingly driven by other demands (religion and commerce for the Andes and war paraphernalia for Japan), their spiritual nature was not completely lost.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)98-107
Number of pages10
JournalSilver Studies
Publication statusPublished - 30 Dec 2022


  • Metalworking
  • Silversmithing
  • Andes
  • Japan
  • History of


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