World Nativity Traditions





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papier mâché, terracotta

Exhibition Label

And yes! They talk in this nativity set. This should not come as a surprise. Drama is an integral part of Italian nativities. Not only in the famous Neapolitan crèches, but also among the poor cousins of Lecce in the Apulie. A well established Nativity tradition in its own right, the figures made in Lecce are of paper maché and terra cotta but they have the same ample gesture, wide mantles, and strong faces as the Neapolitan aristocrats. Wide and welcoming are the gestures of Mary and Joseph, those of other figures point to the manger. Thus a dialogue ensues for the benefit of the onlooker. Come numerous, come all, is the message of the Holy Couple. Right there, right there at the manger, come all! Answer musicians, shepherds, and kings. A few recalcitrants resist; they are lost in their pots and pans.


20 pieces made of terra cotta and papier-mâché. Figures depict Jesus, Mary, Joseph, three wisemen, shepherd carrying sheep, and villagers. Pieces are signed on the bottom, but the signature is indistinguishable. Exhibition label originally written by Fr. Johann G. Roten, S.M. for exhibit entitled "Elisabeth's Nativity House: The van Mullekom Collection" held at Roesch Library, University of Dayton.


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crèches, nativity scenes, nativities, At the Manger, figurines, Jesus Christ

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