Oaxacan Woodcarvings

Carved lizard by

Mauricio Ramirez

Carved wood elephant by

Eleazar Morales

The making of painted woodcarvings in Oaxaca as we know them is a relatively new art. While most Oaxacan folk art traditions have been carried on for generations, creating brightly painted creatures from wood began in the early 1980's, pioneered by the renowned Manuel Jimenez. So, Oaxacan wood carvings are a newer form of Mexican folk art.

There are now many woodcarvers and they live and work mainly in three villages, San Martin Tilcajete, Arrazola, and La Union. The carving villages are in high poverty farming areas, but these carvers possess an amazing artistic sense and vision. Their carvings have provided them with a means to raise their standard of living.

We sell the work of many fine Oaxacan woodcarvers, among them Armando and Moises Jimenez, Susano and Eleazar Morales, Efrain Fuentes, Mauricio and Felipe Ramirez, and members of the Blas and Melchor families.

Unfortunately, in the past few years, wood has become a very scarce commodity which has to be shipped in from a great distance. On our recent trips, we have seen many more poor quality woodcarvings being mass produced than in earlier years. We have made the decision to stock only wood carvings of high quality in order to help discourage the mass destruction of the forests for creating large numbers of poor quality items.