I've always loved the Nativity display, it's such a peaceful, ethereal scene. Not only do I find them beautiful, but fine examples of craftsmanship as well. When I was a child, we had one of those inexpensive Hong Kong glittery plastic versions from the 5 & dime & I was captivated by it.
This nativity was made in the post WWII U.S. occupied zone of southern Germany, which dates it from between 1945-52. Items made in Germany at this time were not very marketable. However, if it was stamped U.S. zone, that made it saleable here in the U.S. Every time I get it out, I give thought to it's unique place & time in history.
The figures are delicate paper mache & carefully hand painted. The creche has a Thoren's Swiss music box that plays "Silent Night" in a soft clear tone. The little angel appears to be sitting on a cloud, unlike the other pieces that are painted like grass.
I doubt this was originally an expensive Nativity, but the family that had it before us took great care with it, so do we.
The tallest wise man is about 7 inches & the creche is about 15 inches high. The roof is decorated with wood chips. The horns on the cow are painted coiled wire.
The colors are still strikingly vivid but the gold has dulled with time.
I added the camel on the left to the set, it's paper mache & marked Made In Japan. I still look for a #3.
Red lips & a hot pink shirt, okay it's
down right gaudy!
Ahhh.... but the sweet little lambs are
still the purest of white.
It doesn't compare to the finely carved Italian depictions, but to me, it's still a thing of beauty. Hopefully, it wasn't too hard on your eyes!
This jolly fella reminds me of the Santa from my
childhood. He is actually the last Christmas mold
I have, still plenty out there, I just haven't come
Santa With Tree & Gifts 6 3/4 in. tall 5 in. wide ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ A bit of history: The First Nativity
St. Francis of Assisi, is credited with the first
nativity in 1223 at Greccio, Italy. It was staged in
a cave with animals and people cast in the Biblical
roles. Within a 100 years nearly every church in
Italy had a living nativity at Christmastime. Statues
& scenery eventually replaced the living nativity
& in time, Christians all around the world made
the nativity a "traditional" holiday display.
The lyrics to "Stille Nacht" were written by a
young priest, Father Joseph Mohr in 1816 &
the melody was written by schoolmaster Franz
Xaver Gruber. They performed the song on
Christmas Eve 1818 at the St. Nicholas parish church
in Oberndorf, Austria, accompanied only by the
guitar. Silent Night was sung in French, English
and German by troops during the Christmas truce
of 1914 during WWI, as it was the one carol that
soldiers on both sides of the front line knew.
Hope your holiday preparations are goin' smoothly!
I have done very little decorating this year, as our Christmas will be very quiet, but I have refused to succumb to the holiday doldrums, so I put this small tree on the dining room table to remind us of all the wonderful Christmases we've enjoyed over the years.
When the kids were young, Leann & I looked forward
to attending the Hall's Department Store's 1/2 price
after Christmas sale, while dad & Alex stayed home to play with the latest "boy" toy. Hall's is the department store division of the Kansas City based Hallmark cards & every year they had a fabulous Christmas decor section with amazing things from all around the world. I would drool over the blown glass ornaments, Santas & nutcrackers, but Leann was always drawn to the little flocked Wagner animal ornaments from Germany.
After a few years there were enough to decorate a small
tree. The hubby made a wooden container & painted it red for that old world German look. The kids decorated it with miniature bubble lights, a few German candles and some glass & wooden beads.
These little critters were made by Fritz Wagner, a sculptor and mold designer, in his Rodental workshop. The workshop made over 300
different animals in several sizes beginning in the
late 1940's, until closing their doors in 1998.
My favorites are the hedge hogs. This is the wee baby.
This fella lost his tusks ages ago & several have lost their hangers. These animals were often played with!
A simple little tree, but big memories for us both. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ To learn more about the history of these
Lula Bea is the latest dolly in the Ozark Butternut clan. Lula Bea was so small when she was born, her
Ma & Pa used the hankie drawer from the bedroom bureau as her bed. She even had a special place near the fire so she would stay warm. Although many of the elder Butternut's didn't think she'd survive, thrive she did.
She didn't grow very tall & she's skinny as a bean pole, but she's always been full of energy & mischief. As a child, she could shimmy up a tree the highest & showed no fear when noodlin' at the creek. She was braver than the bravest Butternut boys.
Lula Bea is 16 inches tall & stuffed with cedar shavings.
Her eyes are the last 2 wooden buttons given to me by Cinder. Simple stitched face with rosy cheeks.
Her undies are flannel. With no fat on her bones, she feels the bitter winter cold.
Button loops and matching green china pie crust buttons.
Lula Bea always wears her bonnet when she's out in the wind, as she is prone to ear aches. Her quilted button bonnet has 2 white china buttons. Lula Bea has a good apron & a calico work apron.
Very pretty cotton reproductions fabrics & vintage cotton lace. To the Butternut ladies, it's not about matching, it's all about lovely prints! (Plum & 2 shades of red?)