World Nativity Traditions



Tree of Life




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Exhibition Label

An area famous for all types of woodcarving, the Zhejiang province, is home of the only Christian woodcarvers’ workshop in China. This Nativity scene was designed by a Chinese Christian man who wants to remain anonymous. A generous nativity set, it has an impressive number of figures and trees. In Chinese nativities, human figures tend to be of modest size but are beautifully carved. All figures related to nature, like animals and trees, are given more sizeable proportions. Indeed, nature is dominant, the mother and teacher of the human race. As in many other cultures trees were the object of veneration in ancient China. It was in the shadow of the tree pipal (ficus religiosa) that Gautama Buddha received his divine illumination. The tree became a symbol of the “great awakening.” Manger and cross in Christian tradition and legend have been assimilated with Incarnation and Redemption, but it is Jesus Christ himself who is the tree of life.


38 pieces carved from wood, plus additional bases and stable, all stained and varnished. Carvings include depictions of Joseph, Mary, infant Jesus,and the three kings. Set is in excellent condition. 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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