Sculpture is the art of developing a medium such as clay, glass, copper, or other malleable material into a shape, form, or model from an idea, belief, or need.
Although one might think of sculpture as a practice limited to the world of art expression, the first sculptures might have been created as icons, or representations of the supreme being(s) that were worshipped: for instance the statues at Easter Island and the Sphinx in Egypt.
Since then, scuplture has remained both a practical necessity and a school of art. In early civilizations (and some modern ones as well) such necessities as jars, vases, jugs, and bowls were sculpted from clay and mud for use in transportation of raw materials, water, and crops. Many of these jugs and vases were adorned with decorative paintings or carvings that illustrated a story or an event in history: the greeks, romans, and egyptians were particularly known for this due to their legacy of myths and legends that were born out of their beliefs in polytheism.
Many tribal nations in Africa still practice sculpture as a way of life due to a lesser degree of modern civilization.
Although sculpture as an art was limited to natural materials in its infancy, advancements in materials science have allowed arists to create their work out of stones, metals, woods, and even every-day items such as trash, recycled material, industrial materials(glass, steel, diamonds). A lot of "modern sculpture" is even made from non-convential material: glue, paper, wire, plastic, fruit.