World Nativity Traditions



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Creation Date

late 20th century

Exhibition Label

This crèche built for The Marian Library Collection represents one of the most important European crèche traditions that of the lower Rhone Valley in southeastern France called Provence with cities like Marseille Arles Aix-en-Provence and Avignon. Faithful to the local tradition the artist built a village with many ingredients of Provençal life: the tiled roofs the Provençal blue of the shutters the little vineyard in front of the house and the round tower home for the many pigeons in the region. This is only the setting for the many people living in the village each character with his or her name and special role. Various professions are represented as are old age and youth and in this set is the band on its way to the crèche led by the mayor with his red umbrella. In Provençal tradition each of these figures has a role to play in the sacred drama. Each has its life story which will come to a climax in front of the Christ child. The Provençal village is a symbol of the world the global village. Its history in Christian tradition is lived with Christ at its center. We either move toward or away from him as do the characters in the Provençal crèche. In the end they will all be gathered around the divine Child.


Three nativity sets combined into one display, created by a Swiss artisan (Gustave Schneider), but in a traditional French Provençal tradition. The sets were created in the late 20th century. 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, Valais (Switzerland)

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