Ironwood carvings are one of the more popular forms of Mexican native art. They can be found in all the tourist places.
The wood from this slow-growing desert tree is becoming scarce, so large carvings are getting hard to find. The subjects of most carvings are sailfish, marlins, turtles, and other animals. The ironwood is very hard and dense, and it polishes nicely. I watched carvers polish their work with SHOE POLISH! Yep, that's the secret.
|This piece was purchased in San Carlos, Sonora. It is different than most ironwood carvings. The quails can be repositioned in peg holes on a piece of native ironwood. I am not sure if the carver was from the area.|
|This is a more typical ironwood carving depicting a marlin. It was purchased in the Puerto Vallarta area. It used to be inexpensive, but prices have risen with the advent of more tourists (aka "rich people").|
|This piece is different than most ironwood carvings in that it is not highly polished, but it is trying to show bear fur! I wonder where the carver ever saw a bear! It shows adaptability in that instead of carving some local fish or animal, they have chosen to carve something they think the tourists would know and appreciate.|
Here is a couple of book-end carvings of fish.