Covered in intricate and colorful patterns, this alebrije owl's wide-eyed expression only adds to its fanciful appearance. In creating this admirable figurine, artisans Jesus and Roxana Hernandez of Oaxaca celebrate that Mexican state's wood carving heritage. 'We use copal wood for our designs,' says Jesus. 'We dry, treat and sand the wood before painting the motifs by hand.'
The alebrije tradition started with Mexico City papier mache artisan Pedro Linares (1906-1992). When he was 30, he fell into a coma due to serious illness. While he was unconscious, he dreamed he was caught between the land of the living and the dead; the place looked like a forest and was populated with creatures with body parts belonging to different animals. The beings repeatedly uttered the word alebrije. Upon recovering, Linares recreated these figures in bright colors using papier mache techniques and called them alebrijes. His work became famous and was one of the main influences of artisans in the state of Oaxaca who began crafting alebrijes of their own using traditional wood carving methods.
- Copal wood
- 0.96 oz
- 4.1 inches H x 2.8 inches W x 2.4 inches D