Category Archives: South America

Masapan Bread Dough Nativity

This charming nativity was made in Calderón, a town near Quito in Ecuador. This town is very well known for its bread dough figures. The dough is made in different colors and each part of the figurine is made using the desired color.

The intricately decorated clothing of the different figures, even the blankets over the animals make this a very colorful and festive iteration of the nativity.

“Rejoice” Nativity

The Baby Jesus is welcomed by Mary and Joseph, as well as by the archangel Gabriel and the Three Wise Men. Guarded by a donkey and a cow, this nativity scene is quite charming. Jose Canil Ramos carved each figurine by hand from pinewood he weathers and dries during the summer months. The characters’ florid orange robes and purple cloaks are painted by hand, including their smiling faces. Featuring nine pieces, this nativity scene preserves a tradition that was brought to Guatemala in 1649. The tallest piece is 15″ H x 6″ W x 4.7″ D. The smallest piece is 4.5″ H x 1.2″ W x 1″ D.

Jose Canil Ramos was born on May 25, 1981 in Chichicastenango. He learned his craft from his father who used to carve masks and saints to sell at the Chichi market.  Jose now shares a workshop with his mother.

“Calaveras” Nativity Scene

Carved by hand from pinewood, this unique nativity scene is comprised of nine pieces. Jose Canil Ramos depicts the Holy Family with an angel, the Three Kings, a donkey and a cow. Though theologically questionable these folk art figures appear as calaveras, literally “skulls,” a popular theme in Guatemala for the annual Day of the Dead celebration, November 2. The tallest piece is : 6″ H x 3.7″ W x 1.6″ D. The smallest piece: 0.8″ H x 1.4″ W x 2.5″ D

Jose Canil Ramos was born on May 25, 1981 in Chichicastenango. He learned his craft from his father who used to carve masks and saints to sell at the Chichi market.  Jose now shares a workshop with his mother.

Copper Holy Family

This copper Holy Family is stylized and semi-abstract in appearance. Nevertheless, the devotion of Mary; the protection of Joseph and the sweetness of Jesus are clearly conveyed.

The work is signed by Jorge Monares of Santiago, Chile. Jorge learned the copper trade working in his father’s workshop starting in 1976. He works together with his wife to make decorative work such as nativities, jewelry as well as utilitarian pieces like pots. They use the traditional colonial forging technique which is characterized by only using fire and a hammer as their tools.

Holy Family Resting on their Way to Egypt

Following the advise of an angel and fearing King Herod would kill Jesus, Joseph took his family to safety in Egypt.  This version of the flight shows the Holy Family as they pause for a moment. Joseph is wearily leaning on his staff. Mary holds the baby Jesus on her lap. Jesus is depicted holding his hands un prayer.  Jose Canil Ramos honors the Holy Family with these two pinewood sculptures, carved and painted by hand.

Gold Chulucanas Nativity

This elegant Nativity is from Chulucanas, a town situated on the side of Mt. Vicús in the northwestern coastal region of Peru. Chulucanas is well known for its rich and ancient tradition of pottery making.  The technique used is known as “reverse technique” and has been handed down from the ancient pre-Columbian inhabitants of this region. Their ceramics are displayed today in some museums under the name of Vicus pottery.

Usually monochrome brown or black this stylized Chulucanas Nativity is set apart by it’s complex coloring highlighted by the gold.

This nativity is made available through Allpa.
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Black Chulucanas Holy Family

This Holy Family is from Chulucanas, a town situated on the side of Mt. Vicús in the northwestern coastal region of Peru. Chulucanas is well known for its rich and ancient tradition of pottery making.  The techniques used today have been handed down for centuries. They were developed during the time of the Vicús culture which was an important early culture in Peru dating back to between 1000/200 BCE to 300/600 CE.


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