Wood carving (xyloglyphy) is a form of working wood by means
of a cutting tool held in the hand, resulting in a wooden figure or figurine,
or in the sculptural ornamentation of a wooden object. The phrase
may also refer to the finished product, from individual sculptures,
to hand-worked mouldings composing part of a tracery.
Some of the finest extant examples of early wood carving are from the Middle
Ages in Italy and France,
where the typical themes of that era were Christian iconography. In England many
complete examples remain from the 16th and 17th century, where oak was
the preferred medium in this case
Figural carving seems to have been widespread. The carving to represent one's god in a tangible form finds
expression in numberless ways. The early carver, and, for that matter, the native of the present day,
has found a difficulty in giving expression to the eye, and at times has evaded it by inlaying this feature
with colored material.