An Alebrije is a mythical creature which guides those in the afterlife in their journey through the
other world. They all possess unique magical powers and are very powerful no matter their size.
They are forged inside of people’s dreams and are also known as guardians of the spirits in the
It is said that Oaxaca's alebrije tradition descends directly from Mexico City paper mache artisan Pedro Linares. When he was 30, he became seriously ill and fell into a sort of coma.
While he was unconscious, he had a most fantastic dream. He was caught between the land of
the living and the dead; the place looked like a forest and was populated with creatures with
body parts belonging to different animals. The beings repeatedly uttered the word alebrije, and
when Linares woke up, he recreated these figures in vivid colors using papier mache techniques
and called them alebrijes . His work became famous and eventually influenced artisans in the
state of Oaxaca who decided to craft alebrijes using traditional wood carving methods and
according to that region's world vision.