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Husband and wife duo Zeny and Reyna from Oaxaca grew up with the tradition of carving alebrijes (fantastical figurines of real and imagined animals); both of their parents were master carvers in that region's traditional folk art. Here they create a wildly colorful dragon in a contorted, acrobatic pose. The dragon is carved by hand from copal wood and painted in a rainbow of psychedelic colors.
It is said that Oaxaca's alebrije tradition descends directly from Mexico City artisan Pedro Linares (1906-1992). 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.
This artist uses traditional techniques handed down through the generations and/or creates culturally significant items, helping keep these traditions alive.
This artist positively impacts their community through job creation and provides jobs for 2 or more people.
Altho we collect almost any of the animals that Zeny and Reyna do, our favorites are dragons and cats. We rescue and recently lost the third of three cats we?ve had for 19 years! All of these wonderful carvings have a very special place in our hearts and we just got a new addition to our family, an orange tabby named Baby Boy, or BB for short. He?s quite the character and came to us with the name of Mouse which he immediately told us was not his name. Many friends sent ideas but he liked the first thing I said to him when they brought him into the room for us to meet which was ?oh there?s our handsome Baby Boy.? He loves the carvings and respects them, but won?t touch he looks at one, then looks at us and says ?erp?? Almost as if to say me? You see these carvings make not only people happy but also animals. Thanks for the joy you bring our entire family!
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