ALEBRIJES

Alebrijes are brightly colored Mexican folk art sculptures of fantastical (fantasy/mythical) creatures. The first alebrijes, along with use of the term, originated with Pedro Linares. In the 1930s, Linares fell very ill and while he was in bed, unconscious, Linares dreamt of a strange place resembling a forest. There, he saw trees, animals, rocks, clouds that suddenly turned into something strange, some kind of animals, but, unknown animals. He saw a donkey with butterfly wings, a rooster with bull horns, a lion with an eagle head, and all of them were shouting one word, "Alebrijes". Upon recovery, he began recreating the creatures he saw in cardboard and papier-mâché and called them Alebrijes. 

 

Linares demonstrated his designs on family visits and which were adapted to the carving of a local wood called copal; this type of wood is said to be magical, made from unitado magic. The paper mache-to-wood carving adaptation was pioneered by Arrazola native Manuel Jiménez. This version of the craft has since spread to a number of other towns, and has become a major source of income for the area.