Salmon Carved by Ariel Playas @ Oaxaca 06.2011
Alebrijes = Wooden Figures

related: folk art
flickr group: world crafts
slideshare: crafting our future
storify: Alebrijes
editing: buying crafts in Oaxaca

Pueblos = Villages

Oaxaca Wiki

San Martin Tilcajete
San Martin Tilcajete
Giraffe at the Door
San Antonio Arrazola
San Antonio Arrazola
what does your heart say? (na ca anun)
La Union Tejalapam
La Union Tejalapam



Invented in the 1950s, the brightly colored wood carvings are a recent addition to folk arts are among the best-selling Mexican folk art in the world. Alebrijes are monster-type figures that were developed in the style of popular paper mache figures. In the towns of San Martin Tilcajete and San Antonio Arrazola, the figures are carved from the twisted branches of the copal tree. The wood has a particular fragrance and its resin has been burned in ceremonial incense burners for thousands of years.

Today's designs range from rustic to ornate, and the prices vary depending on the amount of work that goes into fashioning the piece.

Tip: Look for the name of the artisan on the artwork.

In Oaxaca City

Artesanias Teresita, Murguia #100-B. Victor Vazquez manages a store that specializes in wooden figures. Featured artesanos include Ariel Playas and Silvia Castro. Wiki

Jarcieria El Arte Oaxaqueño, Mina #317 at the corner of J.P. Garcia; 516-1581. Flickr Wiki. Alebrijes are rarely in stock, but it's always a good reason to talk with Don Nicodemus.


folk art


Alebrijes Jimenez



Alebrije Buzzword Bingo

Alebrije - A Mano (Handmade) - Cuchillo (Knife) - Figura (Figure) - Forma (Form) - Madera (Wood) - Pintura (Paint)

Alebrije Buzzword Bingo: Animals

Girafas - Giraffes
Gallos - Roosters

Conversation Starters

You can ask the vendors the following questions:

Who carved the alebrije?
Who painted the alebrije?
What wood is this?
How did you learn to make alebrijes?


Recommended dead tree reading

In Crafting Tradition, author Michael Chibnik discusses the effects on local communities off producing goods for the global market.

The Alebrijes Are Coming 03.2013 #mexicocity #df #harmutzantke @amigosmap @marehrenberg

6a. Expoventa de Alebrijes

Presentación del libro