Mexican wood carvings are widely appreciated around the world. Wooden sculptures, masks, toys and musical instruments are carved taking advantage of the great variety of hard and light woods available in the country.
Among the best known styles are the Oaxacan wood carvings also known as alebrijes; these whimsical creatures have gone beyond borders and are today one of the most popular and valued styles in Mexican folk art.History
Most of these pieces were destroyed by the Spaniards as an effort to erase the native religions. Among the wood carvings preserved there are some musical instruments ornated with intricate carvings.
During the Spanish colony native wood carvers made wooden angels, saints, crosses and altars.
Other use given to wood during the colonial times was mask making. Masks were used in dances and representations of Christian stories which helped the priests to convert the native people.
After the Independence War, wood carvings were made mostly for utilitarian uses such as furniture, plates, boxes, trays, toys and musical instruments.
In the second half of the 20th Century Mexico opened to foreign tourism which greatly impacted the craft making in the country. Art collectors sponsored talented crafters and helped them develop new styles, especially wood carving styles.
The most representative and recognized Mexican wood carvings are:Oaxacan Wood Carvings
From the 1970's non- Seri crafters began imitating the Seris sculptures using electrical tools to make them and in some cases fraudulently claim the carvings are made by the Seris.
Ironwood sea turtle