Journalists' descriptions and photographs of various crafts can influence the market for "ethnic" and tourist art. What purchasers have read about and seen shapes their perception of what is available, what is well made, what is collectible, and what is valuable. This paper examines the effects of the publications of Shepard Barbash and Vicki Ragan on the flourishing trade in wood carvings from three communities in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico. Barbash has written an article for Smithsonian magazine and a popular art book that includes striking photographs by Ragan. The book is prominently displayed in artisans' workshops and is advertised in mail-order catalogs distributed widely in the United States. Many artisans now specialize in pieces similar to those shown in the book, which at one time was a quasi-catalog for some buyers. The magazine article and book have clearly affected the sales of wood carvings by certain individuals. Nonetheless, most artisans and dealers downplay the direct economic consequences of these publications. They point out that the carving boom began before Barbash started writing and that many other people and institutions have given publicity to Oaxacan artisanry.

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