The history of unicycling is a topic I’ve always enjoyed reading about in the past here on the forum. A couple years ago I was flipping through an old March 1980 issue of National Geographic, and chanced upon an article about a major archaeological discovery of a Celtic Chieftain’s burial chamber in Hochdorf, Germany. Among the treasure trove of artifacts unearthed was the Chieftain’s bronze couch, or bier, which is completely unique in appearance.
What’s most unusual is the bed is supported by eight female figures, with each one balancing on a bronze wheel. The article does not speculate about the reasons for this part of the couch’s design, but I couldn’t help but think of our present day use of our B.C. wheel.
The wheels in this historical context are used to symbolize transportation into the afterlife while being perfectly functional, but I like to imagine that the thought of a person actually riding a single wheel crossed the creators minds. How could it not? These people were artists highly skilled in metallurgy, and artists by nature are prone to such creative tangents.
As an artist I was inspired to sculpt and cast a to-scale bronze replica using the lost wax method; it stands at a height of about 13 3/8" (33.97cm) and is the first of a limited edition. Pictures in the magazine article, and pictures online were used as reference material. I decided to give it the appearance of an untouched artifact by adding corrosion to the wheel, and by applying a traditional Tiffany green patina.
Has anyone previously heard of this Hochdorf discovery?
The below 3 photos are of my sculpture, along with an attachment of the bronze couch restored in the Hochdorf Museum in Germany.
Tell me what you think, I’d appreciate any feedback.
I think it is a really nice piece of work. The patina turned out just as you would expect some ancient relic to look. It must have been hard to try and replicate the existing detail in the sense that a person with your skill set could go in any direction that it would be hard to focus and bring this piece to completion when the mind of the artistic is prone to go in so many directions.
Pursue this talent and maybe you will be one of the lucky people that never have to “work” another day in your life.
Do you get female from that? I had always thought of them as male though your images show the giant nipples in better detail. Did the National Geographic article say female? I see the linked article does.
I wonder what the forward-facing wheels were for? I picture it in a goofy kinetic sculpture race, with a person of royalty reclining upon it.