Oaxacan Art: Alebrijes

A (Brief) History on Alebrijes

San Martin Tilcajete, Oaxaca is known for their fantastical wooden carvings called alebrijes. Folk history claims that a man named Pedro Linares Lopez came up with the idea after having the animals appear to him in a nightmare.

He recreated the creatures in papier mache and sold his work locally to loyal customers such as Diego Rivera and even Frida Kahlo.

In 1975, he reached international fame after a documentary was made about his creations. Just before he passed away he received the National Prize for Popular Arts and Traditions.

Today, his work is emulated in the small pueblo just outside Oaxaca de Juarez with each artisan adding their own unique style. It is so popular that the style is now called Oaxacan Wooden Alebrijes.

Alebrijes y Artesanías de Madera (Wooden Handicrafts)

I had the opportunity to go to San Martin Tilcajete and see the artisans work in their own homes. The details in each animal are extraordinary and well worth your time to go and watch the artists at work.

Included below are some of my favorite photos from the trip. Enjoy!

Photo Gallery

Thank you for reading! Any questions, comments or thought? Let me know in the comment section below, I’d love to hear from you.

4 Comment

  1. Perfectly! Very colorful and funny photos. Thank you!

    1. carolynsmurthwaite says: Reply

      Thank you George! Yes they are quite funny little animals that seems to have a magical quality about them.

  2. I used to collect these–had about 20 of them! Loved them but my cats kept knocking them over and they’d break!

    1. carolynsmurthwaite says: Reply

      They’re too cute! I sent some pictures over to Lindsay and she said she remembered your old kitchen being decorated with them as well!

Leave a Reply