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topic 21381

What are the five metals of panchalogam

Current question and answers:

April 3, 2021

Why is Panchlok statue made of 51 grams of each metal?

Shona Singh
- Toronto canada
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Q. Dear Reader, sir I'd really like to know what is Panchalogam. Some people say it is mixture of five metals. Okay, what are the five metals? What is the proportion to be mixed. Please tell me also the history of panchalogam. Please answer my doubt. Thank you.

K. Manivannan
- Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
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February 14, 2013 -- this entry appended to this thread by editor in lieu of spawning a duplicative thread

Q. What are the five metals of panchalogam?

Sankar Murugan
interest about metal - Tirunelveli, Tamilnadu,Iindia
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simultaneous 2003

A. Panchalogam is a bronze alloy of 5 metals used since ancient times in India for Hindu and other statuary items. I don't have the composition, but am sure that the following reference does. My guess: copper, tin, zinc, lead and? (maybe silver).

"Indexing of antique bronzes for future identification" by P. Chandra Sekharan, Tamil Nadu Forensic Science Laboratory, 30-A, Kamarajar Salai, Mylapore, Madras-600 004, India, in TrAC Trends in Analytical Chemistry, Vol. 6, Issue 8, September 1987, Pages IV-VI, © 1987 Elsevier Science B.V. "India, and in particular the state of Tamil Nadu, has an outstanding collection of antique idols made of..." A download is available for about $30 at www.sciencedirect.com

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A. The term is part of the Hindu religion. I found many references to it on the web, but every reference just says "an alloy of five metals". Couldn't find out whether it's a generic term that applies to any alloy that happens to be of 5 metals irrespective of what they are, or whether it refers to 5 specific metals. Any readers sufficiently clued up on Hinduism to help?

Bill Reynolds
Bill Reynolds [dec.]
   consultant metallurgist - Ballarat, Victoria, Australia
We sadly relate the news that Bill passed away on Jan. 29, 2010.

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affil. link
Hinduism Made Easy


A. Panchalogam - Pancha - Five; logam - metal. This becomes a generic term when five metals are mixed together (but specifically Cu, Sn, Pb, Ag, Zn were mostly used in specific proportions).

Panchalogam Idols are widely found in Tamilnadu, a southern state of India. Historically, most of the idols in ancient temples were made of panchalogam. I am not sure why they used it and I don't know whether it possesses any specific properties, but statues and idols of god were made out of this alloy ... and sometimes the utensils used during worship.

Tamilnadu happened to be the place because of the concentration of temples over there due to some reason. Taminadu has been the place where you can find as many temples as possible, and ancient too. I have heard that the workability with panchalogam for making idols are good and most of the panchalogam idols are still found buried under earth. They surface when someone digs up for foundations (those idols which slip Government notice are smuggled all over the world, especially to western countries and have very high value in the black market). They are very ancient but still intact.

There are other things used for making idols of god, like they call it: Navabashanom meaning: nava - nine; bashanom - poison -- made out of nine poisons. But when mixed together they become a very good medicine, and no one knows the composition now. It is said that the sages (the sages were called "Siddhars") made this from poisonous herbs and no one can replicate the things now written in those books as it is very hard to interpret the language used and it is also written in such a tricky manner that it was very hard to decode. Many of the books (written on palm leaf) by the Siddhars were stolen or missing and it's now hard to find these stuffs in Tamilnadu too. There are still some specialized workers on panchalogam, and it follows family tradition and is kept as a secret within the family. But for specific details complete research can be done on this subject, and there are research materials available in the universities of Tamilnadu about this subject.

Good luck on your search for panchalogam.

Karthik Thambidurai
electronic components - Norwood, Massachusetts
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Ed. note: Terrific exposition, Karhik! Thanks :-)

March 1, 2012

A. The five metals are: gold, silver, bronze, copper and iron. I would know because I am a Hindu priest.

P May
- Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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December 4, 2012

A. The five metals are gold, silver, copper, lead, zinc also.

K. Uvaraj
- Chennai, Tamilnadu, India
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January 16, 2014

A. Bronze is not a part of panchlogam. Bronze itself is an alloy of copper and tin. Only base metals are there in panchlogam. They are gold, silver, copper, iron and lead.

Sadasivan Pillai
Private - Mumbai, India
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June 6, 2014

A. Only base metals are used. Gold, Silver, Copper, Lead or Zinc & Iron. My experience: Iron does not alloy with the above metals, so Rivet an iron piece to the Ornament. Thank You. Anbe Sivam.

Thatshana Murthi
Thatshana Jewellers - Ipoh. Perak. Malaysia
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February 9, 2011

Q. Well, everyone knows that Panchalogam is an alloy of 5 metals.
But does it constitute Gold?
Some say yes, some say No.
Can anyone of you confirm if Panchalogam constitutes Gold or not?

Sangeetha G
Archaeologist - Chennai, TamilNadu, India
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[identical question copied and pasted by]

Karigalan sellaiyah
- malaysia, petaling jaya, malaysia
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July 15, 2011

A. No, of course not, cousins. Gold atoms have 79 protons. No other atoms do.


Ted Mooney, finishing.com Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
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December 9, 2017

A. Gold, Silver, Copper, Zinc and Iron are the normal constituent of "five metal" or panchaloga statues.

Kumaran Nagasundaram
- Chennai, India
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May 8, 2019

Q. May I know how to test the Aimpon to find out it is real Aimpon or fake?

Vanitha Kumaravalen
- Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
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May 2019

silly :-) Hi Vanitha. To tell a real Aimpon from a fake one requires the use of an Aimpon tester. But it needs to be a real Aimpon tester not a fake Aimpon tester. There are "Aimpon-Tester Testers", but some of these are fakes as well :-)

A. Seriously though, Vanitha, can you clarify for us what exactly what 'Aimpon' means to you (what would constitute a genuine vs. a fake Aimpon please? Is being made of the right five metals sufficient, or must it have been constructed during a given time period, or by specific people, or what? Words become slang, commonplace, and corrupted, and I see all sorts of jewelry, etc. called 'Aimpon'. Obviously 'Aimpon' means something different to mass jewelry sellers than it means to you. Thanks for any clarification you can offer!


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Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Aloha -- an idea worth spreading
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May 9, 2019

Q. Hi Mr. Ted Mooney,
Actually I am purchasing a material and they charged it expensive by mentioning it is Aimpon. That's the reason I want to know how to test the Aimpon, naturally. Some said you can detect by the weight but I am not very sure on that weight. Some said the temple priest might know very well as many statues in temple made from Aimpon. And there are also ideas can test using magnet to know it is made of metal.

vanitha kumaravalen [returning]
- kuala lumpur malaysia
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April 2021

A. Hi again, Vanitha. My problem remains though: I don't understand what you would mean by 'genuine'. What is the nature of 'genuine'? Magic powers, the same composition as ancient times, cast 500 or more years ago, blessed by some god or goddess, cast by a priest of a certain type, or what? Until you tell us what a 'genuine' Aimpon means to , I don't see how we can propose any test of genuineness.

Luck & Regards,

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Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Aloha -- an idea worth spreading
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
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May 9, 2019

A. Unless I'm missing something, this is just a question of metallurgical analysis buried under a bunch of slang. X-ray fluorescence is one of the more common methods. It's not something you can just do at home though, it requires expensive equipment.

A lot of scams rely on throwing a bunch of fake jargon at the the potential victim so that he has no way to double check that the allegedly valuable item is in fact valuable.

ray kremer
Ray Kremer
Stellar Solutions, Inc.
supporting advertiser
McHenry, Illinois
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September 29, 2019

A. Aimpon or Panchaloga statues/idols/Temple bells in TN are made out of an alloy of Copper (cu), Iron (Fe), Zinc (Zn), Gold (Au) and Silver (Ag), and traces of tin (Sn) and lead (Pb).

It is also known as Maazhaikkalavai (Lump of Metal Composition)

Maazhai also means Beauty, Youthfulness, Gold, Lump of Metal, etc.

Aimpon statues found in Tamil Nadu consists of (approx.) 85% of Copper (Cu), 10% of Tin (Sn), and 5 % of Lead (Pb) and Iron (Fe), and few traces of Arsenic (Ar), Zinc (Zn), gold (Au) and Silver (Ag) .

Most of the Aimpon idols in TN were done during the Chola period, at first a statue print will be done using wax or clay and 3 alloys will be poured in to it at first and during that time the King or his representatives will visit the place and drop his gold and silver jewelry (after praying god) in to that molten alloy.

Aimpon Statues are said to bring youthfulness and prosperity in people, as it is one of the medicinal quality of Copper that is majorly used in it. Some believe that jewelry made out of this alloy will bring Good fortune, confidence and peace of mind.

A Mohan
- Chennai, India
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September 30, 2019

A. The alloy composition given is typical of any bronze age artifact. The modern alloy is 90/10 copper/tin. The lead, iron, etc., are probably introduced from the copper ore as are the trace metals silver, arsenic, etc., and would be expected to vary somewhat from different smelters.
It is highly unlikely that at the time of the Chola dynasty 907 and 1215 AD any of these were added deliberately or could be controlled. That leaves only gold, added at the discretion of the king (and possibly apocryphal).

Ref: Metallurgical Reports ..Bronze age implements in the Pitt Rivers Museum, Allen et al. Published by Blackwood 1970 and similar archeological texts.

geoff smith
Geoff Smith
Hampshire, England
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September 29, 2019

Q. May I know what is the percentage of panchaloham used to make Lada?

Narsimha rao
- Mahabubnagar, Telangana,india
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September 2019

? Hi Narsimha. I've been unsuccessful in googling "Lada". Would you please take the time to introduce yourself and your situation so we have some idea what you're talking about? Thanks!


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Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Aloha -- an idea worth spreading
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
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