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Monday, 23 May 2011

San Antonio Arazola

After visiting Monte Alban we headed to San Antonio Arazola. It's a small village close to Monte Alban , famous for producing the colourful imaginary animals or 'Alibrijes' that can be seen all over Oaxaca. The alibrijes are a mixture of animals and reptiles as once imagined by a man called Manuel Jiminez. Supposedly he had a dream once and saw all of the creatures which would later come to form the alibrijes.

We were unfortunately unable to take any photographs of the figures , but someone did take this rather humorous photo before noticing the sign.

The process of making the pieces starts off in the valleys close to where the village is situated. The pieces are made from a type of tree called copal, which is also used to extract a type of incense which is very popular in the region. The wood from the tree is very soft and easily worked on. The figures need to be carved from the wood within 8 days of the trees being cut down, due to the fact that they dry very quickly, becoming hard and difficult to shape. The wood is carved into fantastic imaginary plants and creatures. All of the work that is carried out on the figures is done by hand, by local workers that live in the village. The figures are painted by local women using acrylic paints. The figures are produced to sell in shops as well as made to order.

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