Catalog #300440

Nahual Drinking Set

Oaxacan Wood Carving

  by Inocencio Vasquez


San Martin Tilcajete

Collected in 1997 



A Nahual is a shape shifter, a magician capable of taking on the form of an animal.  Many Oaxacan carvings reflect this belief, and combine human and animal forms into imaginative characters.  In this case the group consists of 3 cows and a chicken.  All four are dressed in colorful shirts and coveralls. The set is hand carved and painted, in excellent condition with vibrant color, and no cracks or other damage.  Included are 4 figures, 4 chairs, a table, and 8 bottles of mezcal.  The figures are articulated at the shoulders, elbows, hips, and knees.   Figures are approx. 12 inches tall.  Table is 4 wide x 6 long inches, chairs are 5.5 inches tall to top of chair back.  The grouping is very charming with a delightful sense of humor.

Oaxaca is a Mecca for a variety of Mexican crafts including weaving, ceramics, and painted "animalitos". Although the origins of the style can be traced back to Pre-Columbian times,  Oaxacan "animalitos"  first caught the attention of international collectors in the 1960s when Nelson Rockefeller returned to the United States with a small collection of figures purchased on a trip to Southern Mexico.  Rockefeller was an enthusiastic collector of international folk art, and his patronage of a small group of local craftspeople is Oaxaca, Mexico sparked a movement resulted in the development of one of the most recognizable forms of contemporary Mexican Folk Art.   The art form matured in the 1970s and 80s, and now there are more than 200 families carving in and around Oaxaca.


All pages on this web site are copyright 1998 to 2015 by Williams Gallery West