If you are into art, especially the Mexican forms, you might have heard about Alebrijes. It is said that all the brightly colored folk art sculptures or wood carvings from Oaxaca State in Mexico which depicts fantastical creatures are known as Alebrijes. These works of art have become extremely popular and the term has even been added to the official Spanish dictionary by the respected Spanish Royal Academy. Find out more below. Excellent Alebrijes or wood carvings can be found in shops all over the world today. Most of the Oaxacan artisans refer to them as wooden figures (figuras), which represents the animal that they are carved from. These include animals such as leopard, raccoon and deer.
However, the artist is usually compelled to call the art form Alebrije when an amazing figure is created with an elaborate design. It is important to mention that the authentic Alebrijes that the Mexican artists create are not just the highest quality carvings, because they also represent a synergy between sculptures and paintings. Instead of the canvas, the wooden sculpture is used as the background in three-dimensional type of paintings. The artists are known for using their creative energy to bring lifeless wood pieces to life as local ornaments, vibrant colors, images and symbols are used to produce unique art forms.
Generally speaking, the artisan would imagine a form that would start the creative process to make the wooden figures. These ideas can come about spontaneously or it could take days or months. After that, a wooden piece will be chosen to create whatever figure comes to mind. Many artists carve figures from copalillo wood, while a few of them use cedar and tzomplantle. Aside from using special woods, the artists typically employ similar color combinations, shapes, symbols and ornaments to what their ancestors used thousands of years ago. It is common to find the ornamental painting and sculptures with shapes depicting an interesting combination of different elements from the artist’s religious, physical and cultural background. The pieces of art also represent the artists’ traditions, meaning the legends and the myths of their native ancestors, especially the Maya, Olmeks, Aztecs and Mixtecs and many more. All of these elements help to make Alebrijes the unique and creative art form that it is today.
The painted wooden Alebrijes are fairly young as an art form as they were only introduced about thirty years ago. As of such, they are not well-recognized within the international art community. They lack the historic importance, artistic quality and the overall beauty of the wood carvings which are created by renowned painters and carvers from Mexico. When you want genuine pieces of art from skilled Mexican Artisans, you should look no further than the Alebrijes or wood carvings. These are high quality work of art that you can cherish for many years. There are additional resources available if you need more information on this type of art form or want to know where and how to purchase the authentic pieces from Mexico.