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Bas relief

Bas relief is a method of art which entails the carving, or etching, away the surface of flat piece of stone or metal, leaving behind an image that is raised above the remaining flat surface: If a stone slab is two inches thick at the start of the project, when the art work is done, the non-image area will be, say, one inch thick, and the image area will vary between one inch to two inches, depending on the image.

Bas relief has been used since ancient times until today. There are tens of thousands of examples both in museums and in the regular world. Most cultures of the world have utilized the technique. It is most commonly used for the adornment of building surfaces, inside and outside, where the stone is actually part of the building, rather than as a free-standing piece of art to be hung on a wall.

Sometimes the resulting image has been painted and other times left in the natural state of the material used.

Bas relief should not be confused with an etching, as the latter requires cutting into a flat surface, leaving indentations within the flat surface, which becomes suitable for printing by applying ink and pressing paper to the surface.