A figurine may represent such beings as humans, deities, or animals. Usually a figurine is designed to resemble in miniature the thing that it represents, though the resemblance varies depending on the skill and artistic priorities of its creator. Figurine is also sometimes used with a more limited meaning, referring specifically to objects in human form.
Many early human cultures created figurines. Examples have been found or preserved from Europe, the Olmec and Mayan civilizations, and Jiangsu province in China. In many cases, the figurines are believed to have had religious or ceremonial significance.
In modern times, figurines have often been adapted for use as toys and in games. Plastic figurines are frequently part of board games, and they can also serve to represent characters in role playing games.
While many figurines are static, others are created with the being shown engaged in an activity. Toy figurines that are posed in this manner, or have movable parts that allow posing, are commonly known as action figures. Action figures have been produced for a number of movie, cartoon, and comic book characters.
See also: Olmec figurine