Friday, December 19, 2014

German Paper Mache Nativity-Brown Bag Santa

 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
 across them.
 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.
"Silent Night"
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!


  1. Really is a treasure. Somehow the "cheap" stuff of old days still looks way better than what we have to replace it now.

  2. This Nativity Scene is beautiful. I agree it has such a peaceful charm and made very well. Thanks again for sharing a lovely treasure Sherri.

  3. It's a beautiful scene, backed by the log walls of your home. I can almost hear "Silent Night..."

  4. It really feels like Christmas when I see Nativity scenes out. They are so beautiful and yours is gorgeous! I love reading about the history of things. Happy Holidays to all

  5. I always love your posts about the decorations and traditional things you bring out at Christmas. When I was a kid, it was always a big deal to be the one to set up the nativity scene on top of the big console TV--sis and I too turns each year. As each of our kids grew up and left home, that was their first year's present from us, a nativity for their house. Thanks for this lovely post!

  6. Such a treasure!! Wouldn't it be fun to make one ~ that is, for you ladies who can sculpt. I tried once, but I can't make good faces. :) Jan's idea of giving one as a gift is perfect!


Leave me a message. I would love to hear from you.