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Sculpture is the branch of the visual arts that operates in three dimensions. Durable sculptural processes originally used carving (the removal of material) and modelling (the addition of material, as clay), in stone, metal, ceramics, wood and other materials but, since Modernism, there has been an almost complete freedom of materials and process.
The actual cult images in the innermost sanctuaries of Egyptian temples, of which none have survived, were evidently rather small, even in the largest temples.
The smallest forms of life-size portrait sculpture are the "head", showing just that, or the bust, a representation of a person from the chest up.
Small forms of sculpture include the figurine, normally a statue that is no more than 18 inches (46 cm) tall, and for reliefs the plaquette, medal or coin.
Another basic distinction is between subtractive carving techniques, which remove material from an existing block or lump, for example of stone or wood, and modelling techniques which shape or build up the work from the material.
Techniques such as casting, stamping and moulding use an intermediate matrix containing the design to produce the work; many of these allow the production of several copies.