In 1936, Pedro Linares, an artist who specialized in papier-mâché piñatas, masks, and Judas figurines, fell gravely ill. As his fever soared, he began to hallucinate that he was walking in a forest. He felt peaceful until the rocks, trees, and clouds started sprouting wings, horns, and tails, morphing into brightly colored chimerical creatures that chanted the same nonsensical word—“alebrije, alebrije”—over and over again.
When Linares recovered, he quickly got to reproducing the whimsical beings from his dream. The resulting papier-mâché figurines earned the attention of various gallery owners and artists, and their popularity soon spread throughout the country to places like Oaxaca, where they carved them from copal wood. Today the town of San Martín Tilcajete, a 45 minute drive from the city of Oaxaca is a world-renowned center for the art of alebrije.
Our collection of hand-carved, hand-painted alebrije sculpture was crafted at the workshop of Vicente and Brisia Hernandez in San Martín Tilcajete. Vicente carves each piece, and his wife, Brisia paints them.
Project Bly lets you explore and shop street markets around the world. At Bly, we believe in one-of-a-kind and we are committed to the idea that there is something special in the hand-to-hand transaction. We believe in stories, in history and the way an object can come to encapsulate something much bigger than itself. We believe that a city is a living, breathing organism, and to get to know it you have to wander its streets, the veins that fork and converge and inevitably lead you to its heart—the marketplace.