World Nativity Traditions





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Creation Date

20th century



Exhibition Label

The Traveler's Palm, although not a true palm, is native of Madagascar. It takes its name from the comfort it may offer to stranded travelers. Indeed, the sheaves of stems of the Ravenala madagascariensis hold rainwater which can be used as an emergency drinking supply. The Traveler's Palm reminds of another palm tree similarly helpful and a "good Samaritan." There exists an apocryphal account according to which on their flight to Egypt the Holy Family found shelter under a palm tree. It bent its stem and foliage dutifully obeying the Child's command and so lent its fruit and shade to the exhausted travelers.


One hand-carved rosewood nativity set with detachable figures, created by an unknown Betsileo artisan in Madagascar. The figures depict Mary, Joseph, and 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, Antananarivo (Madagascar : Province)

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