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.