What are Alebrijes? Part 1
Posted on May 03 2019
Alebrijes were invented in 1936 by a mexican artisan named Pedro Linares López.
Pedro was 30 years old when being sick, he fell into a deep sleep.
While he was sleeping, Pedro saw a forrest full of trees, rocks and animals, when suddenly the animals started to transform into these strange creatures like donkeys with wings, roosters with bull horns…
Pedro said he heard all these creatures yell, with one voice “Alebrijes!”
The first pieces were made by the “cartoneria” (paperboard) technique:
The owner of an art gallery in Cuernavaca discovered his work and later caught the attention of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, who began to commission the production of Alebrijes.
The filmmaker who introduced Alebrijes to the rest of the world: Judith Bronowski, organized a workshop in Oaxaca in the 80’s.
Oaxacan artisans are more familiarized with wood carvings (more specific Copal trees), that's why alebrijes now are mostly known and made with this material than paperboard ones.
The alebrije was adopted as a craft in San Antonio Arrazola, San Martín Tilcajete and La Unión Tejalapan.
Pedro Linares received the National Prize of Sciences and Arts in 1990 for his great artistic career and his creation, in the category Arts and Popular Traditions.
Pedro Linares López past away on January 26, 1992, at the age of 86.
Now, their children and grandchildren continue with the tradition and work of these extraordinary pieces.