World Nativity Traditions





image preview

Creation Date



glass, blown glass

Exhibition Label

Not to be taken too seriously...and no pun intended. However, the Nativity story frequently evolves against the titanic struggle between God and devil, good and evil. It is not rare to see a devil in Nativity scenes, especially in the Latin traditions. So when God sends meat, the devil sends cooks? Is this the meaning of this set? But the cooks are not mandated to wreak havoc. They are bringing gifts. Are we dealing with recycled devils, converted and put to service of the Christ Child? It would seem to because even the innkeeper - look at the generous bulge of his blue apron - looks like a secularized Joseph, and Mary like the pious version of his wife. Rewriting the Christmas story with a smiling twinkle in his eye, the unknown artist shortens the history of salvation to the Christmas event, and thus becomes an invitation to early conversion.


Eleven pieces made of handcrafted and partially handblown colored Bohemian glass, made to look like they are resting in snow. Figures depict Mary, Joseph, Jesus, three kings bearing gifts, a stylized small stable with icicles dripping from roof, fence, leafless tree with snow, singing bird perched on branch, and two evergreen trees. The figures of the kings are depicted as children dressed as bishops; their crowns resemble bishops’ miters. Set is in fragile condition with considerable breakage; set has been mended. 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.


This material may be protected by U.S. (Title 17, U.S. Code) and/or international copyright law. The material is available for personal, educational, and scholarly use. It is the responsibility of the researcher to locate and obtain permission from the copyright owner(s) or heirs for any other use, such as reproduction and publication.


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

Image Location