World Nativity Traditions





image preview

Creation Date

20th century


African blackwood

Exhibition Label

Carved from black wood or Mpingo, this Maconde (Tanzania) nativity set is a gift of Daniel E. Pilarczyk, former Archbishop of Cincinnati, to the Marian Library. The heavy and shining figures are a worthy tribute to the art of the Maconde. Its style has evolved from simple and rustic patterns to highly decorative elements and sophisticated symbolism. The art of the Maconde follows at least two important criteria: 1. A piece of art is, by definition, an original that cannot be copied. 2. Art is a form of story-telling. Each work of art has a narrative value. These seem the perfect criteria to recreate the uniqueness of the greatest story ever told.


16 wood figures hand-carved by an unknown artist in Tanzania. The figures depict Mary, Joseph, and the 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.


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, wood carvings, wood sculpture, Tanzania

Image Location