Nahuales Casa de Mexico Madrid España

Nahuales Casa de Mexico Madrid España

The word Nahual derives from nahualli which, in Nahuatl, means “hidden.” However, it is a term that incorporates other meanings and meanings, such as disguise, deceive and hide. In this sense, the term describes one of the most important abstract beings in the broad Mesoamerican cultural universe.

The word corresponds to various characterizations that have metamorphosis as their principle. A nahual can be a sorcerer who transforms into an animal and a nahual is also an animal alter ego that we all possess throughout our lives. Likewise, this term identifies the capacity for transformation that every human being possesses.

It is in the tradition of alebrijes, carved in wood, that the word nahual acquires its material essence. These are strange metamorphic figures, carved in wood and polychrome, which have a privileged place of production in several towns in Oaxaca such as San Martín Tilcajete; and in the municipality of Santa Cruz Xoxocotlán where the workshop of master craftsman Angélico Jiménez is located, in the small town of Arrazola.

There is a story (a bit myth, a bit true) that tells the origin of the alebrijes in the center of Mexico City. It is said that, in 1936, a cardboard artisan named Pedro Linares López fell ill and hallucinated strange figures composed of parts of different animals, which repeated the word "alebrijes."

After waking up from his trance, they say that Don Pedro ran to his workshop and frantically began to model with cardboard and wire a being so strange and eccentric that everyone asked him what that was and he simply answered "it's an alebrije."

Finally, whether myth or truth, the production of these fantastic beings reaches Oaxaca through Angélico Jiménez's father, Don Manuel Jiménez Ramírez, one of the most important artisans in the valleys of Oaxaca; and that he lived in San Antonio Arrazola, since then called the "Town of the Alebrijes."

This great master carver met Pedro Linares in 1978, he told him his story and in this way Don Manuel Jiménez took the idea to Oaxaca and began his own tradition of carved wooden alebrijes.

The Nahuales de los Jiménez are chimeric figures that combine the bodies of animals and the heads of old men, with horns and hooves. Halfway between a jaguar, a rabbit and a human face, such pieces are carved with copal tree wood and are considered true works of art for the fineness of their finishes, the delicacy of the pictorial work and, above all, for the original and forceful story that each of these extraordinary carvings embody.


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