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oaxacan wood carving oaxacan animal..
oaxacan wood carving oaxacan animal..
oaxacan wood carving oaxacan animal..
oaxacan wood carving oaxacan animal..
oaxacan wood carving oaxacan animal..
oaxacan wood carving oaxacan animals

oaxacan wood carving oaxacan animals

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    Dimensions: 5 " x 5 "

    Assorted colors, made from copal wood, removable parts: hand carved and painted

    This is a wood carving of Juan Garcia

    The craftsmanship is alebrije Mexican state of Oaxaca.

    These wooden sculptures of copal (Bursera family trees), carved by hand. The wood is sculpted Treated eleven, and is then hand-painted with natural pigment Mixtures, Which is Obtained with a large palette of colors (though Also decorate them with commercial paint).

    Alebrijes are imaginary animals, Often mixing different species, are Characterized by bright colors and decorated with many details.

    Development of the craft in Oaxaca

    Many rural households in the Mexican state of Oaxaca have prospered over the past three decades through the sale of brightly painted, whimsical wood carvings they call alebrijes to international tourists and the owners of ethnic arts shops in the United States, Canada, and Europe. What are called “alebrijes” in Oaxaca is a marriage of native woodcarving traditions and influence from Pedro Linares’ work in Mexico City.

    Pedro Linares was originally from México City (Distrito Federal). In the 1980s, British Filmmaker, Judith Bronowski, arranged an itinerant demonstration workshop in U.S.A. participating Pedro Linares, Manuel Jiménez and a textil artisan Maria Sabina from Oaxaca. Although the Oaxaca valley area already had a history of carving animal and other types of figures from wood, it was at this time, when Bronowski's workshop took place when artisans from Oaxaca knew the alebrijes paper mache sculptures.

    Then Linares’ designs were adapted to the carving of a local wood called copal. The Oaxaca valley area already had a history of carving animal and other types of figures from wood, and Linares’ designs were adapted to the carving of a local wood called copal. This adaptation was pioneered by Arrazola native Manuel Jiménez. This version of the craft has since spread to a number of other towns, most notably San Martín Tilcajete and La Unión Tejalapan, become a major source of income for the area, especially for Tilcajete.

    The success of the craft, however, has led to the depletion of the native copal trees. Attempts to remedy this, with reforestation efforts and management of wild copal trees has only had limited success. The three towns most closely associated with alebrije production in Oaxaca have produced a number of notable artisans such as Manuel Jiménez, Jacobo Angeles, Martin Sandiego, Julia Fuentes and Miguel Sandiego. One of the most important things about the fantastical creatures carved of wood is that every piece is removable, it's how you can tell you have a piece carved by one of the original great carvers.

    The later carvers didn't learn the technique of making each piece fit so well that it could be removed and put back in again and again. Those pieces have more than tripled in value. The painting on these figures is also more intense and varied. The first to copy the fantastic forms and bright colors was Manuel Jiménez, who carved the figures in local copal wood rather than using paper.Animal figures had always been carved in the central valleys area of Oaxaca by the Zapotecs since the pre-Hispanic period.

    Totems of local animals were carved for luck or religious purposes as well as hunting decoys. Figures were also carved for children as toys, a tradition that continued well into the 20th century. After the craft became popular in Arrazola, it spread to Tilcajete and from there to a number of other communities, and now the three main communities are, San Antonino Arrazola, San Martin Tilcajete and La Union Tejalapam, each of which has developed its own style. The carving of wood figures did not have a name,so the name “alebrije” eventually became adopted for any carved, brightly colored figure of copal wood, whether it is of a real animal or not. To make the distinction, the carvings of fantastic creatures, closer to Linares’ alebrijes, are now sometimes called “marcianos” (lit. Martians) .Oaxacan alebrijes have eclipsed the Mexico City version, with a large number of stores in and around the city of Oaxaca selling the pieces, and it is estimated that more than 150 families in the same area make a living making the figures.

    Woodcarving, along with other crafts in Oaxaca, grew in importance as the state opened up to tourism. This started in the 1940s with the Pan-American Highway and has continued to this day with the construction of more roads, airports and other transportation coincided with the rising prosperity of the U.S. and Canada making Mexico an affordable exotic vacation. Oaxacan woodcarving began to be bought in the 1960s by hippies.Prior to the 1980s, most of the woodcarvings were natural and spiritual world of the communities, featuring farm animals, farmers, angels and the like.

    These pieces, now referred to as "rustic" (nistico), were carved and painted in a simple manner. Later known for their alebrijes, carvers such as Manuel Jimenez of Arrazola, Isadoro Cruz of Tilcajete and Martin Sandiego of La Union began by carving animals as youths, often while doing other chores such as tending sheep. By the 1960s and 1970s, these carvers had enough of a reputation to sell their work in the city of Oaxaca. As more dealers shipping to other parts of Mexico and abroad visited the rural villages, more exotic animals such as lions, elephants and the like were added, and eventually came to dominate the trade. Eventually, traditional paints gave way to acrylics as well.Another development that encouraged woodcarving were artisans’ contests held by the state of Oaxaca in the 1970s, which encouraged carvers to try new ideas in order to win prizes and sell their pieces to state museums.

    Manuel Jimenez with one of his creations

    In the 1970s and early 1980s, carvers in the three villages sold their pieces mostly to store owners in Oaxaca, with only one carver, Manuel Jimenez, carving full-time. Most other carvers used the craft to supplement incomes from farming and wage labor. It was also considered to be a male occupation. In the mid-1980s, the influence of the Linares alebrijes was becoming popular and wholesalers and store owners from the United States, began to deal with artisans in Oaxaca directly. The desire of the foreign merchants for non-indigenous animals and the newly popular alebrijes had an impact on the market.

    By 1990, woodcarving had begun to boom with most households in Arrazola and Tilcajete earning at least part of their income from the craft. La Union was less successful in attracting dealers and tourists. The boom had a dramatic economic impact, shifting the economies of Arrazola and Tilcajete away from farming and towards carving. It also affected the carvings that were being produced. Carvings became more complicated and paintings more ornate as families competed against each other. Specialization also occurred with neophyte carvers looking for a niche to compete with already established carvers.The craft continued to become established in the 1990s as more families carved and more tourists came to Oaxaca with the building of new roads.

    Some of these new Oaxacan crafters have extended the design to smooth - abstract painted realistic animals, especially the Mendoza family (Luis Pablo, David Pablo and Moises Pablo a.k.a. Ariel Playas), creating a new generation of alebrijes.

    While the sales trend has been mostly positive for Oaxacan alebrijes, it is dependent on global market fluctuations and on tourism to Oaxaca.

    There was a decline in sales in the late 1980s, possibly due to global market saturation and the dominance of repetitive, unimaginative designs. Sales rose again in the 1990s.

    Sales fell again in 2001, when tourism from the U.S. fell and fell again precipitously 2006 due to statewide social unrest. It has not fully recovered since.

    The alebrije market is divided into two levels, the production of unique, high-quality, labor intensive pieces and the production of repetitive, average quality and inexpensive pieces. Those who have produced exceptionally fine pieces have gained reputations as artists, commanding high prices.

    Larger pieces are generally made only by the better carving families.[20] While pieces can be bought and ordered from the artisans directly, most sell to middlemen who in turn sell them to outlets in Mexico and abroad.

    The most successful carving families sell almost exclusively to dealers and may have only a few pieces available for the drop-in visitor. . Within Mexico, Oaxacan alebrijes are often sold in tourist locations such as Oaxaca city, La Paz, Cancún, Cozumel and Puerto Escondido .

    Most pieces sold internationally go to the United States, Canada, Europe and Japan, where the most expensive pieces end up in ethnic craft stores in urban areas, university towns and upscale resorts.

    Cheaper pieces tend to be sold at trade shows and gift shops.Tourists who buy pieces directly from carvers pay about twice what wholesalers do. . The price of each piece depends on the quality, coloring, size, originality and sometimes the reputation of the carver. The most expensive pieces are most often sent abroad.

    Pieces sold retail in Oaxaca generally range from $1 to $200 USD. The most commercialized figures are those of dogs, armadillos, iguanas, giraffes, cats, elephants, zebras, deer, dolphins, sharks and fish.[

    Animals are often painted with bright colors and designs and carved with exaggerated features that bear little resemblance to what occurs in the natural world. Anthropomorphism is common and carvings of animals playing musical instruments, golfing, fishing, and engaging in other human pursuits are very popular. Fantastic creatures such as dragons and chimeras and others are also carved,[16] even carvings of Benito Juárez, Subcomandante Marcos, chupacabras (imaginary beings that eat goats), "Martians," mermaids, and helicopters. The diversity of the figures is due to a segmented market both in Mexico and abroad which rewards novelty and specialization.

    In a number of cases, carvings return to images from Mexican culture such as angels, saints, and Virgins, which will have somber faces even if they are painted in very bright colors. Devils and skeletons are often parts of more festive scenes depicting them, for example, riding dogs and drinking.

    Foreign customers demand more creative figures with little repetition. Prices abroad range from between three to five times the retail price in Oaxaca, with a median of $100 USD, with lowest usually around $10 and highest around $2,000.

    One of the most expensive pieces sold from a carving village occurred in 1995, when a doctor from Mexico City paid Isidro Cruz of Tilcajete the equivalent of $3000 USD for a piece entitled “Carousel of the Americas.” This piece took Cruz three months to complete.

    Typical household income of families from Arrazola and Tilcajete averages about $2000USD per year, but exceptional artists can earn up to $20,000 per year.

    Two thousand a year is substantially more than average in Oaxaca and allows families to build or expand housing and send children to secondary school. However, most families carve as a sideline with agriculture providing basic staples.

    In some towns, especially in Tilcajete, the economy has shifted from agriculture to the making of wood carvings with a number of families abandoning farming altogether.

    However, for most households in Oaxaca, the success of alebrijes has not replaced the need to farm or to alleviated the need to send family members to Mexico City or to the United States and work and send remittances back home.

    Despite Oaxaca’s reputation for the production of crafts by indigenous peoples, alebrije makers are monolingual Spanish speakers who generally do not identify themselves as a member of an indigenous group although almost all have Zapotec ancestors. The alebrijes are considered to be novelty items for the makers rather than expressions of a cultural heritage. .More traditional woodcarving, such as utensils, toys, religious figures and the like are still made by older residents, but these crafts are overshadowed by alebrijes.

    Approximately 150 families now devote themselves at least part-time to the making of alebrijes, with carving techniques being passed down from generation to generation and many children growing up around fantastic figures both finished and in process.

    Due to copies from other places, a certification scheme is being considered to ensure the viability of crafts from this area. That would include educating consumers and working with reputable stores

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