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  • José Costa Leite, Exvotos
    This unique wood printing block by José Costa Leite depicts another very popular Brazilian fok art form: the ex-voto dedicated to a saint and representing a wish fulfilled. This form of folk catholicism is very popular in the poor Northeast of Brazil.
    Price On Request
  • José Costa Leite, The Market of Tabaiana
    Price On Request
  • José Costa Leite, The Market of Campina Grande
    Price On Request
  • José Costa Leite, SOLD
    This exquisite woodblock depicts the venue of one of the most famous annual events in Brazil: the carnival in Olinda, a picturesque colonial town in northeastern Brazil and home of cordel artist José Costa Leite.
  • José Miguel Borges, Cockfight
    Price On Request
  • José Miguel Borges, Lampiao and Maria Bonita
    Price On Request
  • Severino Borges, The Challenge
    Price On Request
  • Severino Borges, Mateus and Catarina
    Price On Request
  • Severino Borges, Matuto Dances the Forro
    Price On Request
  • José Miguel Borges, The Chicken Thief
    Price On Request
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Brazilian Cordel Art / Woodblocks


More works than shown here may be available.  

Throughout Brazil's poor Northeast ("Sertão"), itinerant peddlers sell home-made illustrated chapbooks addressing popular themes, folktales and legends. This unique art form - "Literatura de Cordel" (string literature) - consists of written verses and woodblock prints illustrating the rhymed stories. Traditionally, the "cordel" booklets were sold at country fairs or popular rural markets where they hung from a piece of string or clothesline. These long, narrative poems with their woodcut illustrations on the cover, were sung out loud to a mostly illiterate rural population. The traditional themes (romances, fantastic stories, animal fables, religious traditions) and themes based on current events, famous people or politicians, can be hilarious, romantic, satirical, and even racy. These days cordel booklets are also sold in Brazil’s big cities where much of the rural population of the Sertão (outback) has migrated. At the same time, woodblock prints illustrating the booklets have been produced in larger formats and are sold separately, often to collectors. On rare occasions the woodblocks themselves are sold.

Please see the works by Brazil's most famous cordel artist J. Borges, in a separate portfolio.


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