Oaxaca is a land of magic and very diverse, art is always present, in this case I will tell you about a handcraft that is globally known: the alebrijes.
WHERE, HOW AND WHEN DID ALEBRIJES ARRISE?
The base of the alebrijes surged in the mind of the artisan Pedro Linares López, he said that he died and resurrected, during the lapse that he was dead he said that he arrived to a place located in the sky or in hell, there he saw animals by the trees of a mountain that were muting constantly and they had forms of a lot of animals combined (mixture of bird-snake, and dragon-spider), when they were coming down the mountain they were saying ¨alebrije¨.
Alebrijes surged like that in the thoughts of Pedro Linares, he and his father made figures with cardboard, because of this Pedro Linares could reproduce alebrijes making them with a bamboo or wire frame that supported the cardboard body in which parts of different animals were mixed, such as their claws, tails, wings, fingers, among others. After that the figures were painted with dark colors and then with bright colors.
With this pieces the artisans of Oaxaca got inspired, they started to do fantastic pieces that surged from the imagination of every artisan, they were made in wood of copalillo or zompantle, this pieces are elaborated in San Antonio Arrazola, San Martín Tilcajete and Unión Tejalpa, this towns have a very antique tradition in wood carving.
HOW DID ALEBRIJES GET FAMOUS?
The alebrijes arrived to other parts of the world in the 70´s when the artisan Manuel Jiménez from Arrazola started to do wood figures of animals and other daily scenes. One day a handcraft seller from the U.S. came to Manuel Jiménez workshop and took his work to the national and international market, shortly after other handcrafts sellers and collectors boosted the woodcarving of the alebrijes.
WHERE TO SEE AND BUY ALEBRIJES?
You can see and buy alebrijes in San Antonio Arrazola, San Martín Tilcajete y la Unión Tejalpa, in this towns you can see different types and styles.
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