This Nativity is carved from ebony wood by Joseph Kisilu. The set is painted by Steven Kyalo. They work in an artisan workshop run by Steven Kyalo in Gikomba, a poor area near the city center of Nairobi, capitol of Kenya.
Both Joseph and Mary are bald because, according to the Maasai culture, when a baby is born the father and the mother shave their head as a symbol that they have conquered or have been relieved of a heavy burden. Mary wears a beautiful necklace and carries a gourd filled with milk to feed the baby Jesus. Joseph carries a spear and shield as a symbol of his duty to protect his sacred family. The angel is represented by a Maasai messenger who has praying hands. The two shepherds with red hair, each carrying a spear and shield, are Maasai warriors who protect the village and herds from predators. The three wise men are Maasai seers; they wear headdresses and carry a spear and club. The giraffe, leopard, and zebra signify that the Maasai live with these animals in Kenya and Tanzania . The Joseph figure measures 5.5 inches tall (excluding his spear).
Artist: Joseph Kisilu and Steven Kyalo
Number of Pieces: 13
Jesus, Mary, Joseph, messenger, 3 magi, 2 warriors, giraffe, leopard, and zebra