Dolphin - Oaxacan Alebrijes
Painted Wood Carving

Unknown Artist. San Martin Tilcajete, Oaxaca, Mexico. Dolphin . This little cutie is very colorful. 

Alebrijes are made of the local copal wood.  The figures are carved with hand tools and allowed to dry. They are then sanded and painted.  The painting can vary from quite simple to extremely intricate and precise.  The colors run from earth tones to unbelievably gaudy.  There are some artists who have become internationally famous. 

There are two levels of alebrijes. The first is comprised of large, very elaborate, and unique pieces of art that can be very expensive.  The second level consists of little, repeatable design items that often are of average quality in execution but cost relatively little.

Like the Native American artists, if someone hits on a successful design or formula, it tends to get copied.  Occasionally the person doing the copying actually executes the design better than the originator.

Due to the expense of shipping and import you tend to see more of the larger pieces sold outside of the village.  This little dolphin, while executed well, would fall under level two but I thought was particularly cute.

 

Remember to check the dimensions - the photos are extreme close-ups

 

Signed:Unsigned

 

Length (Depth) : 2-1/2"

Width: 5/8"

Height:  1"

Weight: .1oz/2g





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