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Benevolent Beast - Handmade Armadillo Alebrije

Benevolent Beast - Handmade Armadillo Alebrije

Regular price $18.00
Regular price Sale price $18.00
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The sky above you grows more dazzling and raucous and then you are approached by an unusual beast. After greeting you, she explains that the Crystal Desert is different from other places in Birdmoss. It is easier to see the Moon and stars here, and easier to feel their effects.  Likewise, the creatures here feel the earth’s grinding layers deep beneath their feet, setting their whiskers and wings to trembling.

These small wooden armadillos come in a variety of color combinations. Each one is unique; it was individually carved and hand-painted by artists in Oaxaca, Mexico.

This type of animal figure is called an "alebrije." Alebrijes were literally dreamed up by an artist named Pedro Linares, a contemporary of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. In 1936, ill with a fever, he was visited in a dream by a host of colorful, fantastical creatures such as a winged donkey, a lion with a dog's head, and a rooster with bull's horns. These strange creatures chanted the nonsense word "alebrijes." (Now, "alebrije" is used to mean "fantasy.")

Linares's alebrijes were made of papier mache. In the 1980s, Oaxacan artists began carving them from copal wood, regarded as possessing magical properties. (The resin from the copal tree is used for purification and protection during rites of passage.) High-quality copal alebrijes usually come in 2 or more pieces that fit together. If your armadillo's tail was removed for shipping, you can slot it back in!

In Birdmoss, Armadillos are regarded as fantastical chimeras, true alebrijes. They emerge at night into the cooling Crystal Desert.

Benevolent Beast was featured in the Crystal Desert Box (May 2024).

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Customer Reviews

Based on 1 review
A truly adorable benevolent beast

Absolutely adore him. I received a purple one from my sister in law, super cute and unique.

Some information I found that made him even more special.
Alebrijes are brightly colored Mexican folk art sculptures that depict fantastical creatures, animals, people, and objects. They are often hand-painted and carved from wood, but the originals were made from papier-mâché in Mexico City in the 1930s by artist Pedro Linares. Linares was known for his paper-mâché piñatas, carnival masks, and religious figures, and his work caught the attention of artists like Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo. Linares claimed that while in a coma after falling ill with a high fever in 1936, he dreamed of a forest filled with strange, colorful animals that kept yelling the word "alebrije" at him. After recovering, he began creating the creatures he saw in his dreams using paper mâché and cardboard.