A dignified man who lived into his 80’s until his death in 2005, Manuel Jiménez Ramírez is a person of remarkable achievements for which he demands respect. He is credited as the originator of this genre of folk art in Arrazola and derived great satisfaction from his popularity with collectors all over the world. Manuel was best known for his animals, angels, shepherds, kings and Christ figures, pieces bold in shape, size and painting style.
His sons, Angélico and Isaías, continue this tradition of designs they regard as exclusive to them. Having a philosophical bent, Manuel believed his work to be a “renacimiento” (rebirth), and proudly announced, “to stop working is to stop the flow of blood in the vessels.” Distinguishing himself from the innumerable woodcarvers he regarded as imitators of his work was a subject of great concern to Manuel. One approach has been to use a finer wood, cedar, that comes from Guatemala but can be bought in Oaxaca.