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

By Michael Chibnik

Since the mid-1980s, whimsical, brightly coloured wooden carvings from the Mexican kingdom of Oaxaca have chanced on their means into present retailers and personal houses around the usa and Europe, as Western shoppers search to hook up with the authenticity and culture represented via indigenous folks arts. mockingly, in spite of the fact that, the Oaxacan wooden carvings are usually not a standard folks artwork. Invented within the mid-twentieth century by means of non-Indian Mexican artisans for the vacationer industry, their charm flows as a lot from intercultural miscommunication as from their intrinsic creative merit.

In this fantastically illustrated booklet, Michael Chibnik bargains the 1st in-depth examine the foreign alternate in Oaxacan wooden carvings, together with their historical past, creation, advertising, and cultural representations. Drawing on interviews he carried out within the carving groups and between wholesalers, shops, and shoppers, he follows the whole creation and intake cycle, from the harvesting of copal wooden to the ultimate buy of the completed piece. alongside the way in which, he describes how and why this "invented culture" has been promoted as a "Zapotec Indian" craft and explores its similarities with different neighborhood crafts with longer histories. He additionally totally discusses the results on neighborhood groups of partaking within the worldwide industry, concluding that the exchange in Oaxacan wooden carvings is a virtually paradigmatic case research of globalization.

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