Image Alt

Jacobo y Maria

We founded our workshop in 1993.
We were born in a town located in the Central Valleys of the State of Oaxaca called San Martín Tilcajete. In the begining we were dedicated to the field in the mornings, but in afternoon we began to develop the noble craft of the craftsman painting our “figurines” (as we used to call the Alebrijes).

We are producers of Zapotec figures carved in wood called “tones” and “nahuales” known worldwide as alebrijes. The tonas are animals with spirit, that’s why they become nahuales.
We use the Mixtec-Zapotec iconography in our pieces in a unique style that we have been able to develop over the years. This is born from a deep appreciation of our origins. Our goal is to make our Zapotec culture known through the figures we create. The “tonas” are the animals of the Zapotec calendar.
The “nahual” is the animal merged with the human being. In the workshop, members are constantly making new proposals in carving and decoration, capturing their imagination and strengthening creativity, an indispensable tool to develop themselves as human beings.

The alebrijes were born with Pedro Linares in Mexico City in the first half of the 20th century. After turning 30, Pedro is imprisoned by a disease that causes hallucinations. In his delirium he can see a kind of beings that inhabited a forest.
These beings were like Mexican chimeras: donkeys with butterfly wings, roosters with bull horns, lions with an eagle’s head … all of them shouted a single word: “alebrijes”, a compound word that could mean “go away witches”. The nahual in the Mexican culture represents an animal fused with the human, is considered your protector, which defines your personality depending on the year and the day you are born. The tonas are the animals that represent the Zapotec calendar, they are 20.
Historically, it is at the end of the sixties and the beginning of the seventies of the last century that this artisan expression begins to dawn. In hands of the first masters: Manuel Jiménez, from Arrazola and Isidoro Cruz, from Tilcajete. Both, promoters and architects of the carvings that at that time were named “Alebrijes”. In this way, between alebrijes, tonas and nahuales, the time passed and other younger carvers emerged to continue with that artistic legacy and to exalt it..

Jacobo Ángeles Ojeda and María del Carmen Mendoza Méndez, undoubtedly, are the most renowned artisans. In addition to being life partners, they have created a unique style in the panorama of genuine art in Mexico. Belonging to this workshop is to delve into the origins and the wonderful past of the Zapotec culture, in the purest manifestation of indigenous art.