A technique using different levels on a surface to depict a representation. It is used with many materials, particularly wood, metal and above all stone. There are three types of relief. The simplest is carved or incised relief, where the contours of the representation are carved into the surface of, for example, a wall (and sometimes also the details within the representation). The surface of the wall both inside and outside the contour lines of the representation are the same height. Then there is sunk or low relief, where the entire surface within the contours of the representation is lowered, so that the representation lies deeper than the surrounding surface. Low relief is known from the 4th Dynasty on, at first only for hieroglyphs, but later also for figures. Finally, there is raised or high relief. In this case the surface of the wall around the representation is removed, so that the representation stands proud of the background. This technique was already in use during the Predynastic period. Most relief representations were painted in many different colours or else gilded. Reliefs were even inlaid. In the Late Period it was common to polish the surface of the material and to leave the surface of the low relief figures unpolished, thus creating a beautiful contrast.