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Alebrijes: Home


Alebrijes are brightly colored folk depictions of magical beings. The Mexican artist Pedro Linares (1906-1992) invented the form, and its name. He often told a story about how he came to create alebrijes. While in bed with a fever, Linares dreamed of incredible creatures combining the features of different animals. The creatures began chanting a single nonsense word: alebrije… alebrije… alebrije! This frightening scene awakened Linares and when his fever subsided, he began constructing what he had seen in his dream. He called these sculptures alebrijes. They were constructed out of papier-mache in the Mexican tradition of cartoneria. The form later became popular with woodcarvers in the state of Oaxaca. The exhibit at the Founders Library, which will remain open until November 8, 2024, presents original Mexican folk art in the alebrijes tradition. It includes 22 pieces created by five artists from Mexico City. The Mexican Cultural Center DuPage selected the pieces and provided them to Northern Illinois University Library.

Resources - E-books

Resources - Print Books

Streaming Video

What are alebrijes? (11 minutes) Describes both cartoneria and wood alebrijes and their history.

Fantastic alebrijes of the Linares family (26 minutes) Presentation from the Fowler Museum at UCLA

Dancing chickens of Ventura Fabian (10 minutes)  Visit to the Oaxaca woodcarving workshop of this artist, famous for his dancing chicken sculptures.

Alebrijes de Oaxaca (9 minutes) Interviews with artists and sellers of Oaxacan wood alebrijes. Spanish with English subtitles.

WGN Chicago news story about this collection of alebrijes (4 minutes) 

Web sites

NIU Libraries Alebrijes Digital Exhibit includes photos, map, and artist information/videos in English and Spanish

Viva Mexico! Alebrijes of Oaxaca, Mexico  (University of Kentucky Colleges of Arts and Sciences) 

Alebrije: A Brief History 

What Are Alebrijes? 

Mexico City's annual parade of alebrijes (Wikipedia)


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