Monday, February 14, 2011

Mexican Wood Carvings

Watching Mexicans carve wonderful wood animals is an amazing sight to see.

These wood carvings, made by Zapotecs, the native people from around Oaxaca, are very, very beautiful and detailed with knives and chisels to cut and dig out the wood. When you watch the carver carve any carving from the beginning, it looks like they are just chopping away on a wet wood called copal wood, but then you start to make out shapes. After that, they dry the carvings.  While the wood is drying, cracks sometimes appear so the carvers need to fill in any cracks by gluing little chips of wood into them.

The next step is painting; the painters paint detailed details like pyramids, butterflies and dots that mean different things to the Zapotecs. The paints are made out of natural ingredients including pomegranates, limestone and plants. If you buy one of the expensive carvings, it will come with a card that says what the designs mean.

This whole process takes about nine months (1 month to carve, 5 months to dry and 3 months to paint).These amazing carvings take so long, but they are worth every minute.


1 comment:

  1. Harrison, your description of these carvings is so right - I zoomed in and saw all the detail and beautiful colors. They must be very expensive to buy, seeing how much time it takes to create one. Did you buy one for a souvenir?
    I loved reading your explanations...