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Our Alebrijes Are Different

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"The Alebrijes of this world take many forms. They are mysterious as they are powerful."
Frida Kahlo, Coco

The Alebrije is one of the most iconic forms of modern Mexican art. It is a form of cartonería or papier-mâché craft. Famous for their vibrant colors and imaginative designs, alebrijes are celebrated in shops, museums and even parades.

The inventor of the alebrije is Pedro Linares Lopez, a papier-mâché artist who came up with the idea when he had a fever-dream in 1936 of a fantastical jungle biome full of wild animals, all of them shouting the word "alebrijes". When he was back to full health, Lopez began depicting the creatures from his dreams. His sculptures took off and became national treasures, being awarded the 1990 National Prize for Arts and Sciences (Premio Nacional de Ciencias y Artes) in the Popular Arts and Traditions category, the highest decoration to artisans granted by the Mexican government, two years before his death in 1992.

Since the first alebrijes were made in the late 1930s, the use of alebrijes as a magical beast is fairly new and their nature has no set rules or behavior. Usually in Mexican Media or media with overt themes relating to Mexican culture, alebrijes are portrayed as living creatures, ranging from friendly to predatory. One common trait is that their outlandish designs and (alleged) dream-related origins often lead to them being tied to some kind of Magical Land, either a Dream Land or some form of culturally appropriate afterlife. It seems particularly common for them to be Psychopomps or guides for the dead, or at least to be associated with Calacas.

They usually fall under Cartoon Creatures and Mix-and-Match Critters, as alebrijes are often mishmashes and pastiches of different animals.

Compare Our Gargoyles Rock for another creature with art origins.


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  • Duelo, a 2019 commercial for Mezcal El Silencio, features alebrijes being used in Beastly Bloodsports.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Coco, alebrije are a type of fauna that exists in the Land of the Dead, appearing as bright and colorful animals similar to the works of art that they are based on. They seem to act as companions and spirit guides for humans both living and dead, being used as pets and beasts of burden to the Calacas and appear as mundane animals in the living world. Examples include: Dante (who appears as a Xoloitzcuintle in the Land of the Living and is Miguel's spirit guide), Pepita (a winged tiger that serves the Rivera family and appears as a normal domestic cat in the Land of the Living), Frida Kahlo's spider-monkey, and various chihuahuas in De la Cruz's estate.
  • The Guardians of the Lost Code: The brijes are based on alebrijes, but encompass beings from other cultures too. They used to be in contact with humans, amongst others through their dreams, and each human was paired with a brije they could combine with into a Warrior Form. The contact eventually fizzled out and in the present it's up to a group of Chosen Ones to restore the old alliance.
  • The Road to El Dorado: Many of the animals, like the fish, birds and reptiles, are very alebrije-esque, many of them coming and various shapes, sizes and bright colors.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • El Alebrije is a Masked Luchador who worked under the Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (CMLL) under the ring name Kraneo. To fit the name, his costume is notable for being wildly animal-like and covered in bright colors, ranging from bright pink to Red and Black and Evil All Over.
  • Mije is a Masked Luchador who started his career as Cuije, the mascotas of El Alebrije. His costume during this time was a miniature version of El Alebrije's: wildly animal-like and covered in bright colors.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Pathfinder: Alebrijes are magical beasts created when a particularly vivid dream inspired by a real or imagined living creature generates a new being within the Dimension of Dreams, or more rarely when a preexisting animal becomes altered by the Ethereal Plane's influences. They resemble multicolored animals, usually patterned with complex stripes, spots or spirals and sometimes with additional traits — wings of some sort are fairly common. They can move between the Material Plane, the Ethereal Plane and individual mind-scapes at will, and may form strong bonds with individual mortals, especially if they were created from a dream of an animal with whom the mortal had a close link. In these cases, the alebrije may seek out the mortal after death to protect their soul and escort it to the afterlife.

    Video Games 
  • Disney Magic Kingdoms: Rabbit alebrijes ran amuck during the Coco-themed "A Show to Remember" Event in 2019. Players needed to catch them using Comfy Baskets and Sweet Treats to earn Vinyl Records and the Concert Event Poster.
  • Dragon City: The Alebrije Dragon is categorized as a Light Dragon. Its description reads that as a dreamwalker, the alebrije dragon's appearance is subject to whatever the dream dictates it to be.
  • Dragonvale: The Alebrije Dragon of Dragonvale World is categorized as a Spirit Dragon and its description is a fantastical take on the real-life origin of alebrijes. It states that an artist by the name of Pedro created such lifelike alebrije pieces that a real-life alebrije dragon snuck into his workshop thinking it had found others of its kind. Pedro subsequently adopted the dragon.
  • In Grim Fandango, the Land of the Dead is home to giant felines that certainly appear to be alebrijes. People use them as racehorses.
  • Guacamelee!: An alebrije appears as the pet of the villain Carlos Calaca, a living skeleton, and is fought as a boss. It resembles a giant, monstrous beast with bright red and purple fur, striped horns, yellow claws, insect-like wings, and a wide mouth full of sharp teeth.
  • Super Animal Royale: The alebrije breed was added in Halloween 2019. The four animals that can have this legendary-classed breed are the tiger, the blue jay, the monkey, and the otter.

    Western Animation 
  • Elena of Avalor: The realm of Vallestrella is home to all kinds of alebrije species. Of note are the Jaquins, jaguar/macaw hybrids. Three of these — Migs, Luna, and Skylar — are companions of Princess Elena. Then there's also Flo, an unusual alebrije in that she's a parade float model of an alpacamundi that was brought to life by magic.
  • El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera: One of the villains is the Alebrije Monster. It's a huge creature with four eyes, horns, tentacle arms, and three legs. It has a girlfriend who looks exactly like him except she has eyelashes.
  • Las Leyendas: There are two alebrijes. The first is named Alebrije, who acts as the Only Sane Man to the rather senile and kind of dumb Don Andres (a Captain Ersatz of Don Quixote). The second one is Evaristo, who is a hippie and absent-minded specimen. The same applies to Soft Reboot Legend Quest, but Evaristo is Demoted to Extra (only appearing in a couple of episodes of Season 2) and Alebeije's personality is now Camp Straight.
  • Super Monsters: In Super Monsters: Dia de los Monsters, the gang goes to Mexico and meets with various alebrijes: Pepita the winged donkey, Nacho the bear-lion, Fuego the thunderbird, and Jackie the jackalope.
  • In Victor and Valentino, alebrijes are used to trap evil spirits, like the Aztec god of mischief Huehuecoyotl (whom the main characters accidentally free in the first regular episode). To trap them again, one has to make another alebrije and say "Estas atrapado!" ("You are trapped!") three times.


Video Example(s):



This Alebrije is a giant monster and pet of Carlos and X'tabay, that ain't friendly.

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