Many of the instruments from the XVI, XVII and XVII centuries that have survived up today are profusely decorated.  This does not mean all the instruments were so luxurious then, as we can see in the iconography.

    There are many ways to decorate the instruments and below we can see some examples.

    In the viols, one of the most familiar motifs is the representation of a human head at the end of the pegbox.

     These are carvings based on French models of the XVIII.  
     The use of a scroll was also very common, as much in English instruments, as French or German ones.

This head, like the scrolls underneath, are based on decoration from English instruments.

It was also very common the combination of different colored woods and the inlays in form from simple or double purfling or making figures and knots.

Some viols even had carved or inlaid roses on the soundboard.