November 15, 2008 7:52 PM   Subscribe

Alebrijes, first created by Pedro Linares, are brightly-colored Mexican folk art sculptures of fantastical animal-like creatures. posted by dhruva (7 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I've always loved these and wanted to know where they came from - thanks for the links.
posted by wanderingmind at 8:14 PM on November 15, 2008

Interesting learning about the papier mache alebijes. But what I really love is the second part of your post to that great link of the fantastical animal-like creatures. Thanks dhruva. (I've missed you on the blue).

So that's what they are called! Originally made of papier mache and then carved copalillo wood. I fell in love with them about 22 years ago here in NYC and bought a bunch, a deer, couple of lizards and an armadillo like creature. yikes, they are expensive now. I bought my deer for $70 in '88 and it seemed expensive then. I love these incredibly beautiful carvings. So charming. Thanks for providing the name, alebrijes, I can now look up other articles.

Really excellent to learn their history. I'd wanted to know this for ages: The wood-carving boom originated in the activities of Oaxaca-based shop owners and three particular carversManuel Jimenez of Arrazola, Isidoro Cruz of San Martin, and Martin Santiago of La Union.

They are sooo beautiful!

Your post had me on a good ramble. The other folk art of the Oaxacan craftspeople is also delightful. Nice outdoor markets. What great stuff. Radishes?! Cut paper.
posted by nickyskye at 8:43 PM on November 15, 2008 [1 favorite]

I never knew there was a name for these things... I've loved them since I was a child.
posted by cmoj at 8:55 PM on November 15, 2008

El Alebrije y Cuije
posted by jtron at 11:05 PM on November 15, 2008

I love crazy Mexican folk art. I saw these at an exhibition in Morelia and really wanted one - Drivers with demons on their roofs. Unfortunately, they weren't slated to be for sale until several days later.
posted by vacapinta at 2:02 AM on November 16, 2008

Here's my Flickr photo set of Alebrijes in Xoxo, Oaxaca. (that peacock stands over 4 feet tall!) I went there last summer for an immersion program. I will be returning this summer for linguistic field research to help the Oaxacan village community of Teotitlán document their endangered language (Zapotec). Also interesting from the very nearby area are the Tapetas (hand woven tapestries) from Teotitlán de Valle and the famous barro negro pottery of Doña Rosa. I was fortunate enough to watch and listen to these artisans talk about their trade as they made beautiful pieces right before me! The weavers of Teotitlán took us through each step from the picking of flowers, to making dyes, designing patterns and weaving the giant rugs hanging on the walls all around us. Same with the man at the potter's wheel of Doña Rosa, who is a descendant from the woman who invented the method of clay crafting that produces a rich black (shiny or matte) glass-like ceramic. In Xoxo, we watched a line of women sit at a table painstakingly polka dot and paint individual pieces of hand carved wood. It was pretty phenomenal. If you can get to Oaxaca, by all means GO THERE! (It is also the cuisine capital of Mexico, and lives up to that title in my opinion).

Sorry about the self-links, but they're relevant to the discussion, and there's not a lot of photography from Oaxacan villages out there on the 'net.
posted by iamkimiam at 9:17 AM on November 16, 2008 [3 favorites]

Excellent comment iamkimiam. And what awesome work you do. How cool.
posted by nickyskye at 2:47 PM on November 17, 2008

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