World Nativity Traditions



No Island




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Creation Date

20th century



Exhibition Label

The dominant figure of the angel in this wood carved nativity from Madagascar reflects a tradition of religious art which can be observed in various cultures. Here the angel does not hold the role of messenger so much as represent the presence of divine reality. Where there is an angel, God is present, and where there is a tall angel like this one, divine presence is particularly intense. In this case, an effort was made to link traditional religion with Christianity; the angel stands also for the Great Spirit that governs the universe. What seems like an island of ragged contours is, in fact, no island but the continent of God's presence, sometimes visible, as in the Incarnation, but mostly hidden by seas of busy indifference. However, the offer of Christmas stands firm. As a star sends its light to the world, so the Christ child extends his loving call to all of creation.


5 hand-carved wood figures, created by Malagasy artisans of the Zafiminary tribe in Madagascar, Africa. The figures depict an angel, Mary, Joseph, and the infant Jesus. Exhibition label written by Father Johann G. Roten, S.M., originally for exhibition entitled "African Symphony" held at Roesch Library, University of Dayton.


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crèches, nativity scenes, nativities, At the Manger, figurines, Jesus Christ, wood carvings, wood sculpture, Madagascar

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