Angélico Jiménez, Santa Cruz Xoxocotlán, Oaxaca

Angélico Jiménez, Santa Cruz Xoxocotlán, Oaxaca

Angélico Jiménez is the son of the late, famous woodcarver, Manuel Jiménez Ramírez, credited with originating the art form called alebrijes - carved wood creatures.

Angélico has followed in his father's footsteps by adopting many of the traditions that distinguished him from other woodcarvers who imitated his work. One of those traditions is using a cedar wood that comes from Guatemala for his carvings. Although Manuel never shared his techniques with anyone outside his family, by the early 1980s other people from Arrazola began to carve and benefit from the tourism that came into town to see him.

Oaxaca has kept the tradition of woodcarving since before pre-Hispanic times. The Zapotecs used to carve religious totems and ceremonial masks. Woodcarvers began making religious pieces and masks following the Spanish conquest. The masks were used in dances as representations about Christian stories. After the war for independence, woodcarving dwindled. But masks used in traditional dances were still made as well as miniature animal and human figures used as children's toys. Woodcarving was not a craft one could make a living at however.

In the 1940s, Oaxaca began opening up to tourism. Although Oaxacan wood carvings have existed for less than 60 years, they have become one of the most popular folk art styles in Mexico and are considered collectible art.

San Antonio Arrazola is the home of Angélico Jiménez and is located 10 km southeast of Oaxaca City. Until after the revolution, Arrazola was a large sugar plantation where people all over Oaxaca worked. When Arrazola became a town in the 1920s, the inhabitants shared different backgrounds and cultures.

Alebrije is a slang Zapotec word meaning "intricate tangled object of a confusing or fantastic theme." The name alebrijes was first used by the famous Linares family in Mexico City whose art form is carton (paper from cardboard boxes used like paper maché.)

The intricate carving, and the lively use of colors reflect Angélico's personality, mood and imagination.

Taller de Angelico Jiménez

Emiliano Zapata

A San Antonio Arrazola #4

Santa Cruz Xoxocotlán, Oax 71230

San Antonio Arrazola

951 102 0947