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Jacobo y María

The workshop Jacobo and María Ángeles was born from a deep appreciation of our origins, we created mythical beings of the Zapotec culture called Tonas and Nahuales, offering to the world figures carved in copal wood, beautifully decorated with patterns and dyes of our pre-Hispanic heritage.

We are a community that develops more than a hundred creative collaborators from approximately twelve communities close to the population that are inspired by the values of the Guelaguetza, with a purpose in mind, living with the principle of communality.

Jacobo & María

It is in San Martín Tilcajete, a town located in the central valleys of Oaxaca, where Jacobo Ángeles and María Mendoza are born.
Jacobo developed his talent in wood carving since he was twelve years old, since being the eldest of his brothers he assumes the responsibility of the house, creating in his beginnings the “Hermanos Ángeles Workshop” where he developed the perfect carving of his “figurines”.
María, at twelve, was already the best painter of her house because of the way she decorated the figures, especially the eyes, waking up the expression of the animals, so she began to work full-time on the figures.

At present they are the creators of most remarkable alebrijes, not only for their unique style characterized by the decoration with Zapotec patterns, but also for the innovations that have incorporated to the carving in wood.


One of the stories about the birth of the Alebrijes, says that Pedro Linares, an artisan from Mexico City, had a hallucination resulting from a serious illness, in which he dreamed that he was coming to the world of the dead, where he saw an amount of animals of many colors, some with dragon wings, legs of chicken, body of snake, face of cat … that flew around him, shouted: Alebrijes! Alebrijes! Alebrijes!
Currently the alebrije is a Mexican surrealist crafts that can be made of cardboard, paper or wood with different techniques for modeling and creation, decorated with very colorful and striking colors, pure Mexican style. These imaginary beings are conceived from the most creative side and brought to reality in the form of these beautiful figures.

Tonas & Nahuales

The nahual in Mexican culture, represents an animal fused with the human, and is considered a protector, it is said that each person, at the moment of birth, already has the spirit of an animal, which will be responsible for protecting and guiding it. For the Zapotec culture, the Tona is a mythical and protective animal that shares fate and soul with a person. Receive and is linked to every individual from the date of his birth.
The tonas are animals with spirit that’s why they become nahuales. These beings are beyond the myths and legends in defining the character of the people; they are represented in the Zapotec calendar.
The alebrijes in comparison with the nahuales, are born of the imagination or of the dreams although sometimes they can be representation of some nahual, and then they get to become personalized figures with spiritual meaning.