This native Cameroon village is made of clay by artisan Alphonse Yenji (pronounced Yen-i). The clay is shaped, fired in a kiln, cooled, and then dipped into a dye from boiled eucalyptus tree bark to make the bronze patina.
The 10 pieces include: Mary, Joseph, Jesus in a manger, three wise men, two camels, one shepherd, and one sheep. The tallest figures are 8 inches high.
Alphonse Yenji is sponsored by the Presbyterian Handicraft Centre, known as Prescraft, a nonprofit organization that supports local craftspeople. Prescraft provides employment for close to 800 artisans, 40 percent of whom are women.
The Holy Family did a lot of traveling early on. While pregnant Mary went into the hillside to meet her cousin Elizabeth. Next Mary and Joseph traveled to Bethlehem, the town of Joseph’s ancestry where they were to register. It was in Bethlehem that Jesus was born. Then, on the advise of an Angel Joseph took Mary and Jesus to Egypt where they. When Jesus was safe the Holy Family traveled to Nazareth where they settled till Jesus began his public life. This intimate bronze sculpture shows the Holy Family on their way to Egypt. Mary holds Jesus protectively and looks at him lovingly while Jesus is nursing. Concerned, Joseph looks ahead and leads the camel carrying Mary and Jesus on their way. Please note that often Mary is seated on a donkey.