The Legacy of Pedro Linares: Reviving Mexico’s Rich Artistic Traditions Through Alebrijes

Mexico is a country that is known for its rich cultural heritage, including a vibrant art scene. One artist who made a significant impact on Mexican art and culture is Pedro Linares. Linares is most famous for creating Alebrijes, brightly coloured Mexican folk art of paper-mâché or wood. In this article, we will explore Pedro Linares’ legacy and his contribution to the revival of Mexico’s rich artistic traditions.

Early Life and Artistic Beginnings

Pedro Linares, a legendary Mexican artist, first drew breath in the bustling city of Mexico in 1906. He grew up in a family of artisans known for their paper mache crafts, such as piñatas and Judas figures. When he was 12 years old, Linares began making his paper-mâché figures, which he sold at local markets. He had exceptional skills in making Judas figures and puppets that they burned during Holy Week.

They noticed Linares’ artistic skills and creativity. In 1936, someone commissioned him to create Judas figures for the first time in the town of Tultepec. He impressed his clients with his attention to detail and the quality of his work. It led to more commissions, and Linares became well-known for his artistic talent.

The Birth of Alebrijes

In the 1930s, Linares became seriously ill and fell into a coma. During his coma, he dreamt of finding himself in a strange forest. He saw trees, animals, clouds, and other objects that transformed into fantastical creatures. These creatures were half-animal, half-human, and brightly colored. Linares was amazed by what he saw and felt compelled to create these creatures in real life.

When he recovered, Linares started to make paper-mâché sculptures of these fantastical creatures. He called them Alebrijes, a word we did not commonly use at the time. Alebrijes are now a significant part of Mexican folk art and are often associated with the Day of the Dead celebrations.

Reviving Mexico’s Artistic Traditions

Pedro Linares’ Alebrijes significantly departed from the traditional forms of Mexican folk art. His fantastical creatures were bright, colorful, and imaginative, and they caught the attention of art collectors and museums worldwide. Linares’ success inspired other Mexican artisans to experiment with different folk art forms, and a new movement was born.

Today, the Alebrijes movement is a significant part of Mexican art and culture. Artisans from Mexico create these colorful creatures, now sold in markets and galleries worldwide. People now celebrate Alebrijes as a symbol of Mexico’s rich artistic traditions during the Day of the Dead festivities.

Linares’ Legacy

Pedro Linares passed away in 1992, but his legacy lives on. People remember him as an innovator who brought new life to Mexican folk art. Linares’ Alebrijes continue to inspire artists and art lovers around the world. His work has been exhibited in museums and galleries worldwide and recognized as a cultural icon in Mexico.


We cannot overstate Pedro Linares’ contribution to Mexican art and culture. His Alebrijes have become essential to Mexico’s artistic traditions, and his work inspires artists and art lovers worldwide. Linares’ legacy reminds us of the importance of creativity and imagination and how they can transform how we perceive the world. Through his art, Linares captured the essence of Mexican culture and expressed it in a way that was both imaginative and playful. His Alebrijes are a testament to the power of art to bring people together and celebrate our shared humanity. As we continue to celebrate the Day of the Dead and other Mexican traditions, we should remember the legacy of Pedro Linares and his contribution to the revival of Mexico’s rich artistic traditions.

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