ALL ABOUT OAXACAN ANIMAL ART
There are a number of people who know nothing about Alebrijes, but may have heard something about Oaxacan folk art animals. These fine examples of Mexican folk art are, for the most part, created in the Oaxacan region of Mexico where talented wood carving artists create some of the most unique and incredible Oaxacan animal art sculptures in the world.
To know and learn more about ALEBRIJES, also known as Oaxacan folk art animals, you need to learn where they came from. First created as paper mache piñatas by Pedro Linares Lopez after he had a serious bout with a high fever, in which he saw visions of fantastical animals, the wood carved Alebrijes began to come into existence some 35 years ago and have been flourishing in the Oaxacan Region of Mexico since. Lopez described his original paper mache versions as “fantastical animals,” and the same type of imagination applies to the ones made today out of Copal wood as well.
Perhaps the next tidbit that will be of interest to you as you learn ALL ABOUT ALEBRIJES deals with what they are made of. For the most part, the “wood” being used is going to be that of the Copal Tree. More specifically, it is probably going to be the female Copal being used!
The reason the female Copal is most often used to create an Oaxacan folk art animal is because it tends to be “softer.” Copals are not the only tree used, as grapefruit, pine, and cedar are also chosen by Oaxacan wood carvers to use for plying their Oaxacan animal art craft.
The choice of the specific piece of wood to use is an art in itself. The Oaxacan Wood Carvings begin when the Mexican Animal Sculptors go into the forest to choose their piece of wood. As they examine the trees they might see a particularly prime branch that reminds them of a lizard, or a knot that would be perfect for creating a bullfrog from. Though no one will ever know ALL ABOUT ALEBRIJES, a rudimentary knowledge of the challenges of the Artisans goes a long way to better understand them.
As Alebrijes become more popular and more well known, the talented artists who create them will also gain renown. Don Manuel Jimenez is widely recognized as the man who first started creating Oaxacan folk art animals for sale and is now considered a “great master” of Oaxaca Wood Sculptures, and Oaxacan animal art. Today, of course, Oaxacan Wood Sculptures for Sale are created by a variety of master wood carvers.
As you learn more about ALEBRIJES you will discover exactly how much hand craftsmanship is involved in the process of creating an alebrije. They are, of course, first chiseled until the wood resembles the image the artisan is envisioning. They are then sanded to a satin-fine finish, at which point they are painted and even more of their individualistic personality is developed.
Interestingly enough, though Alebrijes are Distinctively Unique they are not totally without precedent -- even in The Bible. In Revelation 4:7-8 John tells us, “7) The first living creature was like a lion, the second living creature like a calf, the third living creature had a face like a man, and the fourth living creature was like a flying eagle. 8a) The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within…” As you continue to learn ALL ABOUT ALEBRIJES you may encounter the term “fantastic fantasticals.” In these pieces of Oaxacan folk art animals, the end product may have the parts of more than one animal. For example, you might have a sculpture with the body of a fox, the head of a turtle and the tail feathers of an eagle!
Another interesting aspect of alebrijes is what is known as ‘alebrije couples,” or pairs Here, one piece of wood is used to create two or more animals. For example, you might have a mother armadillo with three young ones on her back. Or, there might be an eagle with a fish in its talons. Whatever the “couple” is, it is remarkable to realize that the Oaxacan Artisan who created it first envisioned it from a single chunk of wood.
Undoubtedly no one will ever know ALL ABOUT ALEBRIJES. The fact that their uniqueness and quality of craftsmanship makes them a wonderfully collectible item however is becoming more and more apparent to thousands around the world. One of the most exciting parts of collecting alebrijes is the fact that by buying them to enhance the beauty of your home, you are helping the economy of one of the most impoverished areas of Mexico. And, there is nothing more rewarding than enjoying the beauty of a unique creation while helping others escape the grips of poverty!
For more information about Animal sculptures for sale in Oaxaca visit our website: https://www.alebrijes.co/
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