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Replica of the Thor's hammer from Skåne , Sweden; Original find from around 1000 AD

A replica is a work made from an original or a prototype. Copy, replica , replica and replica have similar meanings in different contexts .


Replica of a Moai on Texel

Objectively, replica can be understood to mean various things, such as a modified work of art or a reconstruction of art-historical contexts: a mock-up , a reproduced object or a counterpart, an image . There are replicas of body parts from the animal and plant world as well as from humans. These simulations, sometimes used as “ phantoms ”, are used, for example, to provide a clear and / or model-like explanation of contextual relationships in lessons . Phantoms that depict physical properties (such as absorption behavior or scattering properties of a biological tissue) are used for simulations. The water phantom is an example .

There is a replica of a moai on the island of Texel . Other replicas of works of art are made, for example to replace an original that was originally kept outdoors and taken to a museum for reasons of protection . Such replicas are also used to demonstrate the original condition of a work of art that has been damaged or changed in the meantime. In the Landesmuseum Trier there is a replica of the Igel column , on which the original color was reconstructed. With smaller objects, such as sculptures in churches, security aspects (risk of theft) can also speak in favor of keeping the original safe and exchanging it for a copy.

The completion of larger objects or architecture can also be achieved with the help of copies, for example if the sculptures of an altar later came into the museum's possession, but the reredos is still in a church and the original state can be reconstructed there by inserting copies.

In the field of painting, painted copies were often made in the past as they were the only way to faithfully reproduce a famous painting in color. However, less famous images, such as portraits of relatives and ancestors for various branches of the family, were also copied for this reason. The copying of paintings was also part of the training of painters, who in this way were able to study the technique of the artists, who were regarded as exemplary, down to the last detail.

Replica of the Auburn 851 Supercharged Speedster from 1935

In automobile construction, a replica means the outwardly faithful reproduction of a vehicle or vehicle model, often equipped with modern technology. "Historic" looking vehicles without a specific model are called Neo-Classics .

Replica (1999) of the Shtandart that Tsar Peter the Great built in 1703

In shipbuilding , ships are referred to as replicas, which on the outside ( apart from radar or position lights) resemble a historic sailing ship , but on the inside they are equipped with modern comfort, from ship diesel engines (for cruises in calm or in port) to washing machines and microwave ovens . Depending on the requirements of the designers, sails and ropes can be made from modern plastics or traditionally made by hand from natural materials. Examples of such replicas are the Götheborg or the Shtandart .


The term counterfeit must be differentiated . This is understood to be a replica, which is issued as an original against better judgment. The latter is of particular legal relevance. For example, it is not a criminal offense to reproduce antiques and provide them with artificial signs of age, but the fraudulent sale of such replicas as originals is.

Special replicas

Related terms

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Commons : replica  - collection of images, videos, and audio files