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Oaxacan (pronounced Wa-Haw-Ken) wood carvings are whimsical and enchanting art figures that have captivated collectors and enthusiasts worldwide. These imaginative and brilliantly colored figures are hand-carved and painted in tiny villages in the state of Oaxaca, home of the Zapotec Indians in Southern Mexico.
Each figure is handmade from Copal wood from the hills surrounding the Oaxacan Valley using machetes and pocket knives. Artists carve the basic shape of a figure in a few days, then hand-sand and meticulously paint each piece in great detail. It can take up to a full week to complete one figure. The artists use fantasy and imagination in their painting to make the animals appear more alive. Full of movement and humor, Oaxacan wood carving is an authentic folk art that knows only the boundaries of the imaginations of the carvers, for whom myth and magic are a major part of their daily life.