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Home - Use - Aromatic copals - Copalillo


Copals in Mexico

Copalillo (Bursera glabrifolia)

Its common names - copalillo, copal, white or female copal – would suggest its use as incense, but the resin is sticky and rarely crystallizes. However, its wood is ideal for carving: when green it is soft and easy to work and when dry it is hard, very light and is polished for a smooth finish. It is used to carve the fantasty animals called “alebrijes”, the major artisanal centers of which are San Martín Tilcajete, Arrazola and La Union Tejalapan, Oaxaca.




Ilustración: Rafael Ruíz
Información geográfica: Claudia Aguilar
Diseño: Rosalba Becerra

Although other species can be used, copalillo is the wood preferred by artisans. Demand for copalillo wood began to grow in the late 1960s and reached its peak 20 years later. The exploitation reduced the abundance of copalillo around those villages with the greatest artisanal activity.

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