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Another grand form of portrait sculpture is the equestrian statue of a rider on horse, which has become rare in recent decades.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.

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One of the most common purposes of sculpture is in some form of association with religion.

Cult images are common in many cultures, though they are often not the colossal statues of deities which characterized ancient Greek art, like the Statue of Zeus at Olympia.

Relief sculpture may also decorate steles, upright slabs, usually of stone, often also containing inscriptions.

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.

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