Sri Logos

Panchaloha is a term for traditional five-metal alloys of sacred significance used for making Hindu temple icons (Murti). Making Panchaloha images was a well-kept secret for a long time and their color-changing properties added to their mysticism.

The composition is laid down in the Shilpa shastras, an ancient Sanskrit text on icon making. It is traditionally described as an alloy of gold(Au), silver(Ag), Copper(Cu), iron(Fe), and lead(Pb) as the major constituent. However, because of their high cost, gold and silver are no longer used in general-purpose icons. An alloy made by mixing copper, brass, and lead in the ratio of 29:2:1 is commonly utilized for general-purpose icons. In some cases, tin is added in an amount equal to the lead content. Generally, they use 80% copper, 20% brass, and 5% lead for general-purpose icons. However, for icons to be installed in temples for worship, panchaloha containing 50% Cu, 16% Au, 8% Ag, 10% brass, and 16% Pb is used.