Crafting Tradition: The Making and Marketing of Oaxacan Wood by Michael Chibnik

By Michael Chibnik

''It is tough for me to compliment this ebook sufficiently. . . . it's a significant contribution to the sphere of Oaxacan/Mexican reviews, in addition to monetary anthropology and the learn of tourism and crafts.'' --Arthur Murphy, Georgia country college, coauthor of Social Inequality in Oaxaca: A historical past of Resistance and alter because the mid-1980s, whimsical, brightly coloured wooden carvings from the Mexican nation of Oaxaca have stumbled on their manner into reward retailers and personal houses around the usa and Europe, as Western shoppers search to hook up with the authenticity and culture represented by means of indigenous people arts. paradoxically, even though, the Oaxacan wooden carvings are usually not a standard people artwork. Invented within the mid-twentieth century by means of non-Indian Mexican artisans for the vacationer marketplace, their allure flows as a lot from intercultural miscommunication as from their intrinsic creative advantage. during this superbly illustrated ebook, Michael Chibnik deals the 1st in-depth examine the overseas alternate in Oaxacan wooden carvings, together with their heritage, creation, advertising and marketing, and cultural representations. Drawing on interviews he performed within the carving groups and between wholesalers, shops, and shoppers, he follows the full construction and intake cycle, from the harvesting of copal wooden to the ultimate buy of the completed piece. alongside the best way, he describes how and why this ''invented tradition'' has been promoted as a ''Zapotec Indian'' craft and explores its similarities with different neighborhood crafts with longer histories. He additionally totally discusses the consequences on neighborhood groups of engaging within the international marketplace, concluding that the alternate in Oaxacan wooden carvings is a virtually paradigmatic case research of globalization.

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Extra resources for Crafting Tradition: The Making and Marketing of Oaxacan Wood Carvings Joe R. and Teresa Lozano

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Merchants sometimes find that “traditional” crafts sell better after they have been transformed in ways that appeal to foreign tastes. Many rugs from Teotitlán, for example, have designs taken from the work of European artists such as Pablo Picasso, Paul Klee, and M. C. Escher. Furthermore, tourists have been willing to buy entirely new crafts that do not have long-standing cultural significance, such as jewelry and wallets with pre-Columbian motifs. The transformation of “traditional” arts and the creation of new crafts conflict with the Mexican state’s aim to promote popular arts as the symbol of the nation’s indigenous heritage.

The globalization at the end of the twentieth century appears to have stimulated the market for tourist and ethnic art. , Barnard 1991; Hall 1992; Innes 1994) advocating the use of “natural” objects in interior design. These texts on interior decorating assume (1) that “ethnic” art is closer to nature and therefore less artificial than its modern counterparts; (2) that the “ethnic” arts of all regions share a common denominator, making them largely interchangeable and somehow comparable on a formal level; and (3) that “ethnic” art represents the final, fleeting testimony to the tenuous existence of rapidly vanishing worlds.

He is from a community about 20 kilometers from Arrazola where copal is abundant. The family members use the wood they buy to make elaborately curved, beautifully decorated lizards that can be hung on a wall. The decoration is done using house paint bought in a store in the city of Oaxaca. The husband and a teenage son carve the pieces; painting is done by the wife and a daughter in her early twenties. The cost of the wood and paint used in an iguana carving is about 4 pesos. The iguanas are bought by the owner of a store in the historic district of the city of Oaxaca for 150 pesos apiece.

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