Skip to content


Your cart is empty

Article: Repoussé and chasing

Repoussé and chasing

Etymology and Terminology

  • Repoussé is a French word meaning 'pushed up' derived from Latin 'pulsare' which means to push.
  • Repoussage is the noun referring to the technique.
  • Repoussé is an adjective used to describe a piece to which the technique has been applied.
  • Chasing comes from the French word 'chasser' which means to drive out or chase around.
  • Artists use chasing to create their final design on metal.


  • Repoussé and chasing techniques date back to Antiquity.
  • They have been widely used with gold, silver, copper, tin, and bronze.
  • In the Middle East during the 3rd millennium BC, semi-mass production methods were introduced for repoussé work.
  • Greek armor plates from the 3rd century BC showcase classical repoussage and chasing.
  • Roman silver cups and treasures, such as the Mildenhall Treasure, also feature these techniques.

Techniques in Different Cultures

  • European Prehistory and Bronze Age:
  • Sheet gold could be pressed into designs carved in intaglio.
  • Wax or lead force was hammered over the gold to work it into the designs.
  • Patterned punches made from loops or scrolls of wire were used.
  • The Gundestrup cauldron, a Celtic product, had repoussé relief on thirteen separate silver panels.
  • Cameo relief was used to create greater detail on the back of the final design.
  • Ancient Egypt:
  • In the Amarna period (1400 BC), resin and mud were used for repoussé backing.
  • The mummy mask of Tutankhamun showcases repoussé technique with inlaid stones.
  • Ceremonial beard, Nekhbet vulture, and Uraeus were attached separately.
  • Repoussé was extensively used in Egyptian art and artifacts.
  • The technique allowed for fine detailing on gold and other materials.
  • India:
  • Repoussé and chasing are commonly used in India to create water vessels.
  • Copper and silver sheets are often used for these objects.
  • Indian craftsmen have mastered the art of repoussé and chasing.
  • The techniques have been passed down through generations.
  • Indian repoussé work is known for its intricate designs and craftsmanship.

Process and Techniques

  • Lining:
  • Plate is held by pitch, front side up.
  • Design outline is lightly chased on the plate using a liner tool.
  • Liner creates narrow raised lines on the other side.
  • Repoussé and chasing:
  • Plate is turned over and firmed over the pitch, back side up.
  • Main repoussé work is performed using various punches.
  • Plate is released by heating and cavities on the back side are filled with melted pitch.
  • Plate is turned over and placed on a layer of softened pitch.
  • Design is refined by chasing, alternating between repoussé and chasing.
  • Hot forming:
  • Repoussé and chasing can be done on hard materials like steel.
  • Heating the piece makes it malleable for forging.
  • Pitch may be replaced by materials like sand that can withstand the heat.
  • Tools:
  • Container for pitch (pitch tray or cast iron pitch bowl).
  • Heat gun or blow torch to soften or release the pitch.
  • Set of punches with different tips (liner, planisher, doming or dotting tool, matting tool, hollow-faced punch).
  • Lightweight chasing hammer.
  • Oxyacetylene torch, blowtorch, or forge for annealing or hot-working.

Examples in Art

  • Gallery:
  • Examples of face masks in repoussé and chasing:
  • Princess, Cheng Kingdom, 1018 CE.
  • Agamemnon, Mycenae, ca. 1600 BCE.
  • Woman or goddess, Gundestrup Cauldron, Celtic, ca. 100 BCE.
  • Man or god, Gundestrup Cauldron, Celtic, ca. 100 BCE.
  • King Teres I, Thracia, 431 BCE.

Repoussé and chasing Data Sources

Reference URL
Knowledge Graph

Read more


Gemmological properties Rhodolite garnets are members of the pyrope-almandine solid-solution series. Rhodolite garnets can have varying colors, ranging from lavender pink to raspberry red. The bril...

Read more

Religious vows

Religious Vows in Christianity Monks and nuns following the Rule of Saint Benedict make the Benedictine vow, which includes obedience, stability, and conversion of manners. Mendicant orders like th...

Read more