Do you know someone who collects Nativities? Or someone who collects Nativities from all over the world? If you have someone on your list who loves Nativities, we’ve got you covered. Here are just a few of the many we have in our shop in Minneapolis, Minnesota. If you’d like to purchase one of these nacimientos, click on the photo to purchase through the Zinnia Folk Arts Online Shop.
Mexican Nativity Scenes or “Nacimientos” come in all sizes and in all media. The also come in various numerical configurations–five to twenty-five!
This is a very sweet and very tiny nacimiento made in Puebla, Mexico. There are 20 super tiny pieces (tallest is slightly over 1″) including the lovely Christmas cactus and lots of animals. The whole amazingly detailed set (and its “gold” tray) can be yours for $28.
This small nacimiento or nativity has 14 pieces and the tallest piece is about 2″ tall. It is made of clay and the little animals are all lying down. Jesus has his little hands waving in the air. Every piece is decorated in red. $42. Handmade in Mexico.
This is a charming nativity set carved and painted by the Santiago family in La Union, Oaxaca. The tallest piece (the angel) measures about 5.25″ tall. The carving is elegantly simple and the painting, bright and colorful. There are 10 pieces. Very unique and a lovely piece of Mexican folk art.
This is a stunning, large, wooden carved and painted 11 piece nativity set by Roberta Angeles, sister of Jacobo Angeles. They live in San Martin Tilcajete, Oaxaca. The pieces range in size from about 6″ to 9″. Each piece is painted in great detail. And the carving is exquisite. A beautiful set.
Do you have any questions? Or are you looking for another type of nacimiento? Send us an email with your questions!
It’s early, I know, but people are already buying Christmas tree ornaments in the Minneapolis shop! We have some very unique decorations and some of them are online. They are all handmade. That means they were not made by the millions by a machine. No, they were actually designed and made by hand, painted by hand and have all of the charm of bigger pieces of Mexican folk art but in a smaller size. And they come from different cities and artisans all over Mexico. Click on the photo to take you to the online shop!
Have a question? Send us an email…
One of the popular arts for which Mexico is most famous is the wood carvings of Oaxaca. In fact, if people only know one thing about folk art from Mexico, it’s usually about the wood carvings or “alebrijes” which they’ve seen at the beach resorts or airports of coastal Mexico.
The carving of masks and children’s toys in the Oaxaca area dates back hundreds, if not thousands of years, but the current expression of wood carvers in Oaxaca’s surrounding villages was started in the small town of Arrazola by Manuel Jiménez in the late 1950’s. Now, three tiny villages –Arrazola, San Martin Tilcajete, and La Union–are known for their carvings and carvers. The lives of these artisans are not easy. Oaxaca is one of the poorest states in Mexico and most of the carvers living in these villages are subsistence farmers and carve their beautiful pieces for extra income.
A few carvers have done exceedingly well and are world-renowned. This is true for Jacobo Angeles whose amazing work can take months to complete. He employs many, many family members in his lovely home in San Martin Tilcajete. His taste and ability are exquisite and his carvings are highly regarded and highly sought after. We carry the beautiful carved hummingbirds as seen below:
Jacobo’s sister, Roberta, carved this stunning nativity set and it too is exceptional in its concept and execution. Truly a unique and collectible piece.
There are many, many very skilled carvers in Oaxaca and I wish I could feature all of them. I plan to feature others in the days ahead.
Today, I want to recommend a couple of carving families in addition to the familia Angeles, and those are first, Flor and Abad Xuana and second, Aurelia and Juventino Melchor. In both of these families, the man does the carving and the woman does the painting. And in both cases, each person is an artist extraordinaire!
I’ve carried the carvings of the Xuanas before and they will always be some of my favorites. Flor is one of the tiniest people I’ve ever met and one of the most lovely. This photo was taken at the Day of the Dead show in Oaxaca.
Here are some of the lovely pieces that I purchased from Flor and are now available at Zinnia Folk Arts.
There is another couple from San Martin Tilcajete who does very nice work. They are named, Juventino and Aurelia Melchor. I especially fell in love with their bunnies and have quite a few of them in the shop. Here are two in the website shop…
For more information about Oaxacan wood carving and carvers as well as the inevitable politics of it all, you can read, Oaxacan Woodcarving by Shepard Barbash (1993). Another writer is Michael Chibnick and his book is Crafting Tradition: The Making and Marketing of Oaxacan Wood Carvings.
As always, if you have any questions, please ask!
Many times when people look at Mexican folk art pieces in the shop, they ask about the meaning. And many pieces of Mexican folk art are derived from a long tradition of carving, potting, beading and a history unique to the particular region or pueblo from which that item came. But there are also pieces of folk art that are just fun and whimsical and may have an attenuated connection to the past and to a greater meaning but are like toys in that they are mostly for pure joy and amusement. Some of the most colorful and unique pieces of Mexican folk art are categorized in the arena of “toys.”
Though some of the pieces are not meant for children to literally play with, other pieces are. “The Mexican toy world is full of delightfully fantastic objects and peopled with fanciful animals…If all the types of toys could be gathered in one place, they would constitute a great ensemble of beauty, grotesqueness and humor. There would be clay, glass and petate (fiber) insects, birds and animals of all sizes and colors, some with whistles in their tails; animals playing instruments, pigs adorned with flowers, tin rattles…There are many household toys—furniture of all kinds, tiny perfectly formed sets of dishes, mortars and stoves. Dolls and marionettes made from wood or paper mache are common in many regions. The make believe world of children is generally like the adult world, filled with beliefs in magic and miracles…”
Frances Toor, A Treasury of Mexican Folkways
Come visit us and put a smile on your face…Celebrate the joy of the great country of Mexico… See the ART in folk art!
We’re open Tuesday-Friday 11-6, Saturdays 10-5
Closed on Sunday & Monday
As you know, I’m super busy trying to get the shop fixed up and opened by the end of April. So, today I’m sending you a little photo spread of some folk art toys that are quintessentially Mexican…lacquered vehicles, circus rides, animals, carved ox carts…none of these are really “toys” in the sense of permitting a child to play with them but they are whimsical pieces, often taken from common images in the lives of Mexican artisans. Yes, you really do see oxcarts, horses, chickens, and animals playing instruments and of course, bright colors everywhere…