World Nativity Traditions



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wood, clay, paint, glaze

Exhibition Label

The central feature of this nativity is the typical habitat of the Alpine regions of Europe. These wooden constructions burnt a deep brown or black as they grow older are covered with slabs of granite or wooden shingles. They are built on stilts topped by circular slabs of granite to prevent mice from penetrating apartments and storage rooms. Buildings where people live are separated from granaries and stables. Similar constructions can be found in northern Spain and countries of the Pacific rim. The houses of this nativity are set in the barren landscape of the pre-Alps where grass and trees are sparse but rocks sheep goats and old people left behind are many. Here the Holy Family finds refuge in a shelter used by shepherds and sheep. The birth of the Messiah needs to be proclaimed not only to cities and on the flat lands but also from the mountain tops.


Nativity scene created by Gilberte Schneider in Chamoson, Switzerland from a variety of media, including painted wood and clay. The exact date of creation is unknown. Exhibition label originally written by Fr. Johann G. Roten, S.M. for exhibit entitled "At The Manger" and held at Roesch Library, University of Dayton.


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crèches, nativity scenes, nativities, At the Manger, figurines, Jesus Christ, Chamoson (Switzerland)

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