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Zapotec Fish 12-inch Hand Carved and Painted Alebrije Fish Sculpture

Zapotec Fish 12-inch Hand Carved and Painted Alebrije Fish Sculpture

Regular price $373.95
Sale price $373.95 Regular price
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SKU: SKU: SK-NVC-383954

Product Features
Working with Fair Trade certified organizations is an important part of what we do. This product is made by artisans that are fairly compensated for their skilled work, and helps provide a living wage as well as safe work conditions.

A rotund fish with big eyes swims sinuously in cool rivers. Colorful motifs from Zapotec art and ancient temples cover the body and fins. By Manuel Cruz, this is a beautiful example of Mexico's alebrije art. The image is carved by hand of copal wood in the style of Oaxaca and meticulously painted by hand with tiny brushes. The finer details are created using a maguey thorn instead of a brush.

The alebrije tradition originated with Mexico City artisan Pedro Linares (1906-1992). When he was 30, he became ill and fell into a coma. While he was unconscious, he dreamed he was caught between the land of the living and the dead, a place populated with creatures whose body parts belonged to different animals. The beings repeatedly cried, 'Alebrije!' When he was well, Linares recreated these fanciful figures in papier mache. His work became famous and inspired artisans in the state of Oaxaca, who began crafting alebrijes of wood.

The wood branch dictates the final form, thus size and shapes can vary slightly. Thus, each alebrije is an authentic work of Mexican folk art.

  • materials: Copal wood
  • Hand-crafted item -- color, size and/or motif may vary slightly
6.25 in. H x 9 in. W x 3.1 in. D

Artisan Information

Manuel Cruz

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“My name is Manuel Cruz; I was born in San Agustín de las Juntas, in the state of Oaxaca. Since I was very young I received from my parents a beautiful teaching that to this day accompanies me faithfully every day--the art of alebrijes.

“I can't remember a single day when I didn't help my parents paint the pieces; it was precisely how I learned to love this art and its details. I was ten years old when I painted my first alebrije. I remember how my parents expressed their passion and charm from day to day when creating these beautiful pieces. They told me what their origin and their legends were.

“Alebrijes were first created by Pedro Linares, who, while in a coma, saw these magical creatures that showed him the way back. This story that seems fantasy inspired me to create a magical touch in the decorations of my pieces.

“My inspiration itself is my life, as each piece has a meaning and a mission. Each piece has a degree of commitment and difficulty that is revealed in its decoration and in its forms. Not to mention a part of me and my family.

“Starting this adventure has required a lot of focus and commitment that comes when you love what you do. That has also allowed me to share my experience with those who want to learn from the heart and dedication. I want each of my pieces to transmit the magic of Mexican traditions, as well as the dedication of my family.”

Supplier Information

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NOVICA was started with a dream to create a better world for artisans, because a better world for artisans is a better world for all.

Along the way, the founders of NOVICA discovered something very important - as artisans around the world succeeded, there was also a visible and profound impact on the communities around them.

Your purchases are that powerful. They directly and indirectly provide for education, help with health care, fund basic needs, support children, preserve disappearing arts, and of course, spread happiness around the world.

The founders of NOVICA had a vision of the future that is not one of mega factories producing cookie cutter products for all to cheaply consume. Instead, a bright future that celebrates artisans who take the time to create an item by hand. A future where time is protected, where stories are told, where unique details are honored. Love, respect, inclusiveness become driving force.


United States shipping only. Expedited shipping is unavailable. Allow for 1-2 days extra processing time. This product may ship separately from other products in your order and may have longer than normal shipping timelines as it will ship directly from its country of origin.


All sales of this product are final -- we do not accept returns or issue replacements unless there is a defect with the product. Please review our Returns & Exchanges policy.

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