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Oaxacan Woodcarving: The Magic in the Trees Paperback – April 1, 1993

4.5 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Shepard Barbash is a freelance writer and former bureau chief in Mexico City for the Houston Chronicle, whose work has appeared in the Washington Post, Newsday, the San Francisco Chronicle, and a variety of other publications.

Vicki Ragan is a photographer whose works are in the permanent collections ol the Brooklyn Museum of Fine Art in New York, the Center for Creative Photography in Tucson, Arizona, and Polaroid Corporation's International Art Collection in Amsterdam. The aut
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 120 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books; Reprint edition (April 1, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811802507
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811802505
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 0.4 x 10.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #990,545 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is a wonderful book for anyone wanting to know more about Oaxacan wood carvings from Mexico. I teach Spanish and assign a project where the students have to research and make a replica of one of the wood carvings. This is the book that I recommend. It divides the carvings into four categories and explains characteristics, history, and more. Many great photos are included also.
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Format: Paperback
This book is very informative for those interested in learning more about the artists behind the woodcarvings. However it only represents a few of the carvers and the photos while excellent quality will be a disappointment to those who may own or have seen many of the other wonderful carvings that these artists create. The photos seem to concentrate mainly on human style figures and although it does contain quite a few photos of animal figures most are those more on the conventional side. The more elaborate and colorful figures are not represented, neither are some of the more exotic animals like dragons, giraffes, and armadillos. There is nothing at all on the small `alien' monsters which are now considered the trademark emblems of this area. For those wanting a book to show friends just what these artists can do it will be a bit of a disappointment, however since it's the only book available at present there is little choice.
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Format: Paperback
This is a wonderful little book with a wealth of information and pictures that document the whimsical wood carvings of Oaxaca(pronounced WA-HA-ka), Mexico.The folk art depicted are beautifully detailed figurines, lavishily decorated hand painted carved wood. The book explains the entire process and how the works are often family projects where all family members participate in order to sustain the family. If you are a collector of folk art this book is a good reference source as it tells you which names are most collectible. One of the more interesting Oaxacan carvings are the "alebriges" which are figurures that may have animal and human traits but are created in such a fashion that it looks like it may be from another world with its extra parts of anatomy and exaggerated form. The three-dimensional carvings are delightful pieces of folk art. Anyone interested in the folk art of Mexico, planing a trip to Oaxaca, teacher or student involved in art would enjoy this book. Easy to read and photographed to reproduce the intricate works that are so colorful this book is a valuable source of information for all interested in these now famous wood carvings from Oaxaca.
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Format: Paperback
I picked this book up just recently and was rather delighted by what I found. Vicki Ragan's photos are lovely, but it is Shepard Barbash's text that is the real delight here. How many of those who buy this book will be like the lady below who, apparently without reading the text, complains that the book does not feature all her favorite artists and all the little alien figures which she is sure are the most important images coming out of Oaxaca?
Please do buy this book, enjoy the lovely pictures, but then read the text. Barbash raises, rather subtlely, the question of whether these woodcarvings are folk art or a response to a commercial demand; he questions whether we are right to put our own "surrealist" readings on these wonderful little figures which are hardly conceived out of some sort of pychological dream matter.
Instead he puts this work into its proper context. These wonderful, brightly colored woodcarvings are the work of individuals with their own stories, hopes and fears -- for whom the incomprehensible wealth and technology of the United States is far more surreal than anything they might produce.
I have one of the cute little aliens the reader below speaks of. They are nice, but superficial beside the personal stories and personal expression that occasionally finds its way into this fascinating art that exists somewhere between folk and commerce.
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Format: Paperback
Oaxacan Woodcarving is an excellent resource for anyone wanting to know more about both the woodcarvings and the culture of the woodcarvers.
The well done photos combined with very personal stories made the book easy to read. I found myself wanting to know more about the village and the people.
During a trip to Oaxaca, I found the book to be invaluable. The author's insight into the people who created these delightful sculptures helped me to understand what I was seeing.
I would recommend the book to anyone who is going to Oaxaca or has an interest in the culture.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Such an interesting read.. really gives you an insight to the amazing Mexican artisans/artists of this craft/trade, a real look into where/why this originated, and why collectors will pay good money for these beautiful works of art. Highly recommend to anyone interested in the Oaxacan carving/painting art, or Mexican culture.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was expecting pictures of alebrijes but this book covers woodcarvings with less intricate designs and very simple figures. If you are looking for a book with traditional carvings from South of the border try ABeCedarios: Mexican Folk Art ABCs in English and Spanish if you are working with children. One excellent, yet a lot more expensive book, is ALEBRIJES. OBRAS MAESTRAS DE ESCULTORES Y PINTORES MEXICANOS [Hardcover] by Hartmut ZANTKE. For the true connoisseur of alebrijes this extensive, and amazingly beautiful collection is a lot more suitable.
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