In ancient times, Cyprus was renowned for its beautiful dense forests and woods that covered almost the whole of the island.
Raw material, such as wood and copper, attracted people from many neighbouring countries to the island of Cyprus.
Wood (pine, walnut and cypress), being a primary raw material, was used for building fishing boats and ships, as well as for agricultural equipment and household tools. In addition it was used for construction and also as a source for energy.
Over the years man has used wood, which is an easy material to work with, in order to create artefacts, such as statues of deities and other figures.
The basic symbols in Cyprus woodcarving are birds (symbolising love), wolves and lions (symbolising strength), the Holy Cross (symbolising the cycle of life), and angels (symbolising guardians and protectors).
Cyprus woodcarving is divided into two categories - ecclesiastical and secular.
Ecclesiastic woodcarving flourished at the beginning of the 16th century, when the tall, carved wooden iconostasis was established in the Church of Cyprus. Examples of dynamic expressions in wood can be seen carved on iconostases, despotic thrones, pulpits, candelabras, church stools, doors, windows and other church furnishings.Secular woodcarving is divided into two categories - urban and folkloric or rural. The category of urban woodcarving includes all types of wooden furniture used by people in the towns, such as wardrobes, tables and chairs.
The main characteristic of folkloric or rural woodcarving is its effortless way of expression and lack of proportions and simplicity. Examples of this type of woodcarving are on chests, beds, chairs, shelves, wardrobes, mirrors, etc.
Wood was also used for the production of agricultural and household tools and equipment, such as ploughs, pestles and mortars, bread moulds, troughs, pack-saddles, cross-bars, looms, wooden shovels and many others.