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He also creates individual figures of vendor ladies carrying wares and produce. , son of Placido, specializes in horse-drawn carts bearings mariachi bands, nativity scenes, groups of devils and fully dressed skeletons.
His wife Justina does the painting with intriguing color combinations.
Nevertheless the Santiago family members created a style of their own which include rustic figures and multiple-piece compositions like rodeo scenes, Nativity scenes and Day of the Dead motifs and have gained international recognition. It exists as a town since 200 years BC but changed its location several times before establishing where it is located today.
The name Tilcajete comes from the words til (cochinilla dye) and cajete (water well).
The economical boom created by the popularity of these colorful creatures has given many families the chance to have a better life in one of the poorest areas of the country.
Following the Spanish conquest carvers made wooden saints, angels, crosses, altars and masks.
Martin Santiago considers carving his side job, being farming his most important activity.
Martin's brother, , makes representational scenes such as markets, church processions, Day of the Dead celebrations and schoolyards.
In the 1940's, with the construction of the Pan-American Highway, Oaxaca opened up to tourism.
Folk art stores were opened in Oaxaca City and the Manuel Jimenez a peasant from San Antonio Arrazola is the creator of this renowned folk art style.
Carvers Isidoro Cruz from San Martin Tilcajete and Martin Santiago from La Union Tejalapan had a share in the process of making these whimsical creatures one of the best known styles of Mexican folk art.
Other subjects are angels, devils, skeletons, mermaids, saints and nativity scenes.
Arrazola was the home town of Manuel Jimenez the creator of the Oaxacan wood carvings tradition. Until after the Revolution War Arrazola was a large sugar plantation where people from all Oaxaca went seeking for a job.