The basic design behind Malay woodcarving is the awan larat (‘extending clouds”). Its usage in a composition is governed by four principles. Firstly, the design element must be evenly distributed in the composition. Secondly, the empty spaces or uncarved areas should be the same as carved areas. Thirdly, animals or humans should never be depicted and fourthly, when there is a central motif, the other secondary design elements are to be repeated around it. Apart from the awan larat, other common inspirational elements include holy verses from the Qu’ran and plants such as bean tendrils, groung leaves, and leaves of the water lettuce.