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They are cardboard figures that combine imaginary forms and mythological animals with some components of reality. These freakish and almost surreal creations were the result of a long artistic meditation, in addition to the ingenious practice of cardboard handicraft.

Pedro Linares was an informal cardboard artist, a crafter of skulls and piñatas. When he was 30 years old, as he was dying, he hallucinated a strange place where unusual, bizarre and psychedelic animals shouted one word: “Alebrijes”. After a miraculous recovery of a stomach ulcer that had brought him close to death the artisan decided to replicate his dream and show it to the world. With wire, cardboard and paint, he gave life to these fantastic creatures, from his own mythology. Diego Rivera, his most famous client, used to visit Pedro Linares’ workshop, in the Merced Balbuena.

In the creation of an Alebrije various animals are mixed, to form a unique composition. Paper mache, colored tissue paper and newsprint are joined with glue and are shaped on a wire frame, to make the strange figures. Once it’s dry, it’s decorated with acrylic paints of bright colors that highlight its forms and give it life. The attention to detail and the time of the creative process during the making of an alebrije deserve to be highlighted. The development of a figure of 20 centimeters, from start to finish, can take 3 weeks.

An authentic alebrije has to stand on its own and must be completely made with paper. Furthermore, in a quality work, the alebrijes may give the impression of being made of glass. Although the alebrije is a registered trademark, there is no signature or characteristic feature for differentiating the work done by Linares’ family inheritors from the work done by any other person.

Text adapted and translated from: Trozos. Mitología Maché. Alebrijes o el arte de imaginar  by Con Acento Latino. They strive for the knowledge of the Spanish language and Latin culture among executives and students throughout the world. For the comfort of the students, the classes are tailor-made and held in their offices or homes.

To learn more, read the following articles:

Text adapted and translated from: Trozos. Mitología Maché. Alebrijes o el arte de imaginar

To learn more read the following article:

Las 10 artesanías más representativas de México (1ª parte)

And enjoy these videos: Once Noticias. Invaden los Alebrijes la Ciudad de México

Taller de Alebrijes artesanales