Monday, December 19, 2011

Carved Bloodwood Tapirs from Colombia

Support conservation efforts with this unique, hand-carved collectible!

Our Bloodwood Animals

Palo de sangre is the Spanish name for this rich, red wood which is popular for making cultural handcrafts and art in South America. The English translation is "bloodwood." It is the heartwood of the trees Brosimum paraense and Brosimum rubescens. The sapwood is yellowish-white. According to Wikipedia, "Palo de sangre has a fine texture and takes a high polish. The wood is very hard and has a tendency to blunt tools. The wood is used in decorative woodworking and woodturning. The Nature Conservancy considers this tree secure within its native range." Other sources give additional names: muirapiranga, satiné rubane, cacique, and cardinalwood (due to its red color). It keeps its color, and does not turn brown with age like some highly colored woods. See our full selection of bloodwood ("palo de sangre") hand-carved animals from Colombia.

Palo de sangre is carved into wonderfully attractive and charming animal figures in Colombia and other regions of tropical America. The bright red color is a natural property of the wood, as is the highly finished shine on the surface (evidenced by the reflected light in the photo). These animals are not varnished, stained, or painted, but come to you in their spectacular natural finish. Fortunately, the artisans who carve them are not restricted by any means or conventions to a particular template, so you get the benefit of each individual's vision and creativity. The wood also varies somewhat from one carving to the next as far as natural color, grain, and markings. Although the individual item is different from all others, the motifs are repeated. For example, crocodiles and manatees are more common; and tapirs are less common. We may be able to get several tapirs this month and none next month, for example. Or we may be able to get small otters one month and only large otters the next. We decided to show you each and every animal we have available, and you can order by the number. You will receive the exact item you see on the web site. The only order option for quantity is one per item, as no two are alike. These carved wood animals are imported to the US by the Tapir Preservation Fund. Your purchase helps support conservation of tapirs and their habitat.

Tapirs of Colombia

Colombia is the only country that is home to more than two species of tapir. Three distinct species and one subspecies inhabit the country. Mountain tapirs live in one chain of the Andes mountains, lowland tapirs live in much of the jungle (eastern) area of Colombia, and a very few Baird's tapirs live in the far north near the Isthmus of Panama. There is also a subspecies of lowland tapir called the Colombian tapir living in an isolated area called Santa Marta. Colombia is still a frontier for tapir discoveries. The Colombian tapir, a subset of the lowland tapir, was believed by some to be a distinct subspecies, but it was only clearly distinguished as such in the past few years. Some people believe that Baird's tapir, which can be found in a small pocket in the north of Colombia also ranges down the dense, barely-accessible western coast. There have been reports of sightings or tracks of Baird's tapir in the west, but no definitive evidence has been brought to light. We hope that Baird's tapir will be someday be identified for certain as living along Colombia's west coast.

This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.

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