Handmade Alebrijes


Alebrijes are imaginary creatures that have escaped the dreams of the artists and appear as colorfully painted sculptures.  Alebrijes represent a variety of different species, both real and fantastic, and are native to the Valley of Oaxaca in Mexico.  They are made with papier-mache or carved from Copal wood for the high-end pieces. 

Alebrijes are characterized by vibrant colors and details throughout, such as patterns, stripes, shapes, facial expressions and more. In addition, high-end Alebrijes display the unique style of each family workshops and their artists.

San Martín Tilcajete is a town and municipality located about 14 mi from the city of Oaxaca, in the state of Oaxaca, in the south of Mexico. Tilcajete is historically a Zapotec indigenous community, like the rest of the Ocotlán district that surrounds it. First settlements there date back to 1150 BCE. 

As a traditional indigenous community, much of its governance is based on social customs and norms. Most of the town’s residents make a living through a mixture of agriculture and the making of alebrijes. Many of the houses are decorated with these wooden creatures. These have brought national and international attention. However, it is still a very small town, which, despite the tourism it now receives, has no restaurants, except for one on the main highway outside of the town center.