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Everything you need to know about Mexican “Alebrijes”
Alebrijes are usually a blend of different animals: They may have a lion’s head and the body of a crocodile, or the body of a fish with dragon wings, to name a few - Photo: File photo/EL UNIVERSAL

Everything you need to know about Mexican “Alebrijes”

19/10/2018
20:42
Suyapa Alvarado
Mexico City
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Learn more about these mind-boggling colorful creatures that have become a part of Mexican folklore

Alebrijes are fantastic creatures created by Pedro Linares López, a scavenger born in 1906 in Mexico City. One day, Linares fell unconscious due to an illness and, during a long period of deep sleep, he claimed to have seen a series of mind-boggling creatures which he later tried to reproduce by painting small figures made of cardboard with all sorts of vibrant colors.

Alebrijes are usually a blend of different animals: They may have a lion’s head and the body of a crocodile, or the body of a fish with dragon wings, to name a few. Though they were originally made of cardboard, artisans in Oaxaca make alebrijes carved out of copal wood, which are then painted with bright colors and all sorts of tiny patterns and details on their bodies.

Manuel Jiménez Ramírez, from San Antonio Arrazola, is one of the main exponents of Oaxaca’s alebrijes. Through his work, he represents “nahuales.”

Nahuales are a part of pre-Hispanic folklore and are understood in two different ways. On the one hand, nahuales are thought to be mythological beings; supernatural wizards of sorts capable of transforming into animals, objects, or natural elements related to witchcraft. On the other hand, the nahual is a spiritual connection between a person and an animal, with the latter serving as a guide and protector.

In the village of Tilcajete, tourists are allowed to interact with artisans and visit their workshops while they make alebrijes by hand.

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Get ready for the Alebrijes Parade in Mexico City

At 12:00 PM Alebrijes of all shapes and colors will be displayed at the city’s main square (Zócalo)
Get ready for the Alebrijes Parade in Mexico CityGet ready for the Alebrijes Parade in Mexico City

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