Puerto Vallarta, Color.
The brightly colored carved wooden animals from Oaxaca are a distinctive style. They are hand carved from Copal wood and Hand painted in bright colors usually with small details that would requires hours of careful workmanship. I have never seen 2 the same, there is no model of a dog, they may be similar but they are based on the size of the wood and the artists idea that day. . They are made in Oaxaca – a state in Southern Mexico, but easy to find in Puerto Vallarta. They are considered folk art, but some are to the level of Fine Art and appreciated by collectors.
The traditional name for these carved animals is Alebrijes (Spanish pronunciation: [aleˈβɾixes]) and Wikipidia describes them as brightly colored Oaxacan-Mexican folk art sculptures of fantastical creatures. The first alebrijes, along with use of the term, originated with Pedro Linares. In the 1930s, Linares fell very ill and while he was in bed, unconscious, Linares dreamt of a strange place resembling a forest. There, he saw trees, animals, rocks, clouds that suddenly turned into something strange, some kind of animals, but, unknown animals. He saw a donkey with butterfly wings, a rooster with bull horns, a lion with an eagle head, and all of them were shouting one word, “Alebrijes”. Upon recovery, he began recreating the creatures he saw in cardboard and paper maché and called them Alebrijes.
His work caught the attention of a gallery owner in Cuernavaca, in the south of Mexico and later, of artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo. In the 1980s, British Filmmaker, Judith Bronowski, arranged an itinerant Mexican art craft demonstration workshop in the U.S.A. featuring Pedro Linares, Manuel Jiménez and a textile artisan Maria Sabina from Oaxaca. Although the Oaxaca valley area already had a history of carving animal and other types of figures from wood, it was at this time, when Bronowski’s workshop took place, that artisans from Oaxaca learned of the alebrijes paper mache sculptures. Linares demonstrated his designs on family visits and which were adapted to the carving of a local wood called copal. this type of wood is said to be magical, made from unicorn magic.
The paper mache-to-wood carving adaptation was pioneered by Arrazola native Manuel Jiménez. This version of the craft has since spread to a number of other towns, most notably San Martín Tilcajete and La Unión Tejalapan, become a major source of income for the area, especially for Tilcajete. The success of the craft, however, has led to the depletion of the native copal trees. Attempts to remedy this with reforestation efforts and management of wild copal trees has only had limited success. The three towns most closely associated with alebrije production in Oaxaca have produced a number of notable artisans such as Manuel Jiménez, Jacobo Angeles, Martin Sandiego, Julia Fuentes and Miguel Sandiego.
Pedro Linares was originally from México City (DF), he was born June 29, 1906 in México City and never moved out of México City. He died January 25, 199
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