Wood carving in Ukraine has become one of the most exquisite and perfect forms of artistic wood working.
Judging from several preserved items, some purely folk motives could be observed even in woodcarving of the Princely period. After a long period of stagnation during the time of Tatar invasion a new upraise of that art started from the XVI century. During the golden age of the Cossack State in the XVII - XVIII century folk woodcarving in Ukraine reached its peak. , , , furniture and house outfit, , , implements, were decorated with woodcarving. Woodcarving of church and other items of religious use achieved extremely gorgeous decorative perfection. The basis of those polychromatic or gilded carvings made in the Baroque style was a succulent and intricate , which consisted of skillfully stylized folk motives: , sunflowers, mallows, roses etc. those compositions perfectly matched architectural elements of iconostases, which usually were many-tiered. Those artistically and technically brilliant woodcarvings acquired even more grandiosity and portliness in the period of Rococo. The Baroque and Rococo ornamental forms and motives very often were combined with figures of saints, angels, etc.
The period of classicism and Empire style did not displace the Baroque and Rococo motives, but gave the carving more concentration and calm.
Hand and altar , , candlesticks, church-chandeliers, lecterns, kiots, grave and roadside crosses etc. are very interesting examples of folk woodcarving.
Unfortunately, in Soviet Ukraine the greater part of those brilliant examples of folk woodcarving of a world significance were plundered and destroyed by Russian Bolsheviks in the 1920th-30th and for that reason it exists only in fragments, in descriptions and photographs.
Till the middle of the XIX century woodcarving achieved a high level of development in all Ukrainian lands, especially in Poltavshchyna. Ornament peculiarities show that in Galychyna and Volyn there was an inclination to geometrical forms, and in central Ukraine and in the western Ukrainian lands - to floral ornament.
Gutsul carving is an interesting phenomenon of Ukrainian folk woodcarving; the middle of the XIX - beginning of the XX century was the peak of its development. Its oldest examples date from the XVII century onward. That was quite primitive carved icons - "obrazy", or sacred images. But as far back as at the beginning of the XIX century articles of Gutsul woodcarving, which showed quick tempo of development, became similar to analogous examples from Podniprov'ya. Gutsul-made articles of that period included all types of household articles, and especially - religious articles. In the latter group especially remarkable are hand altar crosses with a strict form construction and thorough execution.
Traditionally the Gutsuls embellished such articles as topirets' (walking stick/hatchet), pistols, fire steels, powder-flasks and barrels. Till the middle of the XIX century the simplest tools were used for that purpose - a knife, an awl, nails. But with the introduction by Yura Shkryblyak (1823 - 1885) of turning technique the artistic and technical perfection of articles was considerably increased. That craftsman in his work used hardened chisels that he made himself. In addition to traditional motives ("ryesky", "kryvulky", "ruzhya" (guns), "kucheri" (curls), "slyvky" (plums), "kolosky" (ears), "rozklyny", "khreshchyky"), which were very close to geometrical type of ancient pysankas (painted Easter eggs) embellishments, he was the first to use a new type of embellishment - encrustation with darts, metal plates, "patsyorkas" (colored glass beads). Then the sons of Y. Shkryblyak improved the encrustation and intarsia significantly, reaching the acme of skill. in the XX century "patsyorkuvanya" (bead encrustation) also became widely spread, which Gutsul craftsmen brought to perfection. Folk woodcarvings from Gutsulshchyna were the highest achievement of the Ukrainians in this branch of decorative and applied art.