Armature (sculpture)
In sculpture
Sculpture is three-dimensional artwork created by shaping or combining hard materials—typically stone such as marble—or metal, glass, or wood. Softer materials can also be used, such as clay, textiles, plastics, polymers and softer metals...

, an armature is a framework around which the sculpture is built. This framework provides structure and stability, especially when a plastic material such as wax
thumb|right|[[Cetyl palmitate]], a typical wax ester.Wax refers to a class of chemical compounds that are plastic near ambient temperatures. Characteristically, they melt above 45 °C to give a low viscosity liquid. Waxes are insoluble in water but soluble in organic, nonpolar solvents...

 or clay
Clay is a general term including many combinations of one or more clay minerals with traces of metal oxides and organic matter. Geologic clay deposits are mostly composed of phyllosilicate minerals containing variable amounts of water trapped in the mineral structure.- Formation :Clay minerals...

 is being used as the medium. When sculpting the human
Humans are the only living species in the Homo genus...

 figure, the armature is analogous to the major skeleton
The skeleton is the body part that forms the supporting structure of an organism. There are two different skeletal types: the exoskeleton, which is the stable outer shell of an organism, and the endoskeleton, which forms the support structure inside the body.In a figurative sense, skeleton can...

 and has essentially the same purpose: to hold the body erect.

An armature is often made of heavy, dark aluminium
Aluminium or aluminum is a silvery white member of the boron group of chemical elements. It has the symbol Al, and its atomic number is 13. It is not soluble in water under normal circumstances....

A wire is a single, usually cylindrical, flexible strand or rod of metal. Wires are used to bear mechanical loads and to carry electricity and telecommunications signals. Wire is commonly formed by drawing the metal through a hole in a die or draw plate. Standard sizes are determined by various...

 which is stiff, but can be bent and twisted into shape without much difficulty. The wire is affixed to a base which is usually made of wood. The artist then begins fleshing out the sculpture by adding wax or clay over the wire. Depending on the material and technique, the armature may be left buried within the sculpture but, if the sculpture is to be hollowed out for firing
A kiln is a thermally insulated chamber, or oven, in which a controlled temperature regime is produced. Uses include the hardening, burning or drying of materials...

, it must be removed.

Large representational sculptures meant for outdoor display are typically fashioned of bronze
Bronze is a metal alloy consisting primarily of copper, usually with tin as the main additive. It is hard and brittle, and it was particularly significant in antiquity, so much so that the Bronze Age was named after the metal...

 or other types of sheet metal, and they require armatures for internal support and stability. For example, a large armature designed by Gustave Eiffel
Gustave Eiffel
Alexandre Gustave Eiffel was a French structural engineer from the École Centrale Paris, an architect, an entrepreneur and a specialist of metallic structures...

 holds up the Statue of Liberty
Statue of Liberty
The Statue of Liberty is a colossal neoclassical sculpture on Liberty Island in New York Harbor, designed by Frédéric Bartholdi and dedicated on October 28, 1886...

. The armature can be seen from below by visitors to the base of the sculpture's interior.

An armature used in stop-motion animation
Animation is the rapid display of a sequence of images of 2-D or 3-D artwork or model positions in order to create an illusion of movement. The effect is an optical illusion of motion due to the phenomenon of persistence of vision, and can be created and demonstrated in several ways...

 is an articulated
A joint is the location at which two or more bones make contact. They are constructed to allow movement and provide mechanical support, and are classified structurally and functionally.-Classification:...

metal, wire or even wooden figure covered with material to build the character, but can be made to hold poses for extended periods of time.
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