Alebrijes are awesome handcrafts, know about them in our Oaxaca tour to see alebrijes and archaeological sites.


The most fantastic dream can come true, and alebrijes are a sample of this. They are mystical figures product of the artist’s imagination, full of color, and mixing elements of various animals, whether real or mystical. Learn about their origin, and more in this post.


The basis for the alebrijes came from the mind of the artisan Pedro Linares López. He claimed that he had died and resurrected. During the time he was dead, he said he had arrived at a place located in heaven or hell. There he saw animals among the trees of a hill that were constantly mutating and had the shapes of various animals combined (a mixture of bird-snake, and dragon-spider). As they came down the hill they would repeatedly say the word “alebrije”.

Upon awakening the artisan Pedro Linares and his father who were dedicated to cardboard decided to reproduce the enigmatic figures with a bamboo frame that with wire held the cardboard body of these figures, which were a mixture of various animals. When the figures were finished, they were painted with dark colors as a base and over these more striking and vivid colors.

These pieces inspired the artisans of Oaxaca, who began to elaborate fantastic pieces that arose from the imagination of each artisan in copalillo and zompantle wood. These carved pieces are made in several towns such as San Antonio Arrazola, San Martin Tilcajete and La Union Tejalpa. These towns have an ancient tradition in wood carving, so the elaboration of these figures was facilitated in the villagers.


Alebrijes arrived in other parts of the world in the 1970s when the artisan Manuel Jimenez de Arrazola began to make figures of animals and other everyday scenes carved in copalillo wood.

One day a crafts dealer from the United States arrived and took the work of Manuel Jiménez to the national and international market. Soon after, other dealers and collectors promoted the wood carving of the alebrijes.


The towns that have the tradition of making copal wood alebrijes in Oaxaca are San Antonio Arrazola, San Martin Tilcajete and La Union Tejalpa. The first two are the most famous. In each town you can observe different styles of creation.

Did you know that? You can make your own alebrije. Yes, there are workshops that allow you to make your own alebrije, mainly the process of painting it. Contact me and get to live this experience.

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