Barro Betus Nacimiento

This Nativity from Tonala in Jalisco, Mexico was created by the Ortega family. This family has a long tradition of creating whimsical figures and scenes known as “Barro Betus.” They also use this tradition when depicting this nativity. Characteristic of this tradition is the depiction of the Magi riding an elephant, a horse and a dromedary. The bright colors are not only used for the clothing of the human figures but also for the animals. The horns of the lamb, e.g. are painted in the colors of Mexico. The technique used is know as Tonala after the city where it was developed centuries ago.

The ceramic production in Tonala is also known as the authentic mestizo ceramic. The tradition of burnished clay comes from the Tonalteca group, which used clay to produce polished forms.

The bright hues used for burnishing the objects originated from the powdered colorful clay found in Mexican soil. During colonial times, the production of pottery incorporated decoration techniques such as colorful lacquer brought by the Augustinian missionaries in the 17th century.

Today, the artisans of the Valley of Tonalá such as the Ortega family still use the burnishing techniques of their pre-Hispanic ancestors, fused with colonial styles that resulted in sophisticated ceramics that became an important part of Mexico’s artistic traditions.

Navajo Folk Art Nativity

This Nativity by Nina Malone sets the birth of Jesus in a Navajo context. There are eleven figures in total: Mary, Joseph and the Christ Child, three Magi, a donkey and an ox, and two sheep. The different pieces have been glued onto the base.

The nativity is handmade from natural clay in Navajo Folk Art style. These kind of figurines are known as Mud Toys. Each piece is individually hand formed. Mud toys are often sun baked and not fired like traditional pottery. Each figurine is painted with acryclic paint.

Jaracanda Wood Nativity

This set of six figures, including Mary, Joseph, the Christ Child and three Magi were carved in Jaracanda wood by Artisans working with Mujibha Exports of Zimbabwe. Jaracanda wood is a fast-growing sustainable type of wood can is easy to carve.

Mujibha Exports was created by Robert Barclay Steward and his mother Anthea Doreen Steward in Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe. The Stewards founded this company to provide a living to local artists and to introduce the world to the artistic heritage of Zimbabwe

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.

Rustic Holy Family

This rustic Holy Family which depicts Mary, Joseph and the Christ Child in a stable was carved by Hector Rascon. The simplicity of design and material highlight the fact that the Christ Child was born in poverty to a humble family.

Hector Rascon learned the art of carving from his father-in-law, and famous artist, Ben Ortega. Hector is perhaps best known for his carvings of St. Francis and angels which grace so many homes and gardens in Northern NM.

Hector carves his pieces from cottonwood and follows the natural gentle bends in the wood. Each piece reflects its own personality and character dictated by the wood and the subject matter. Hector is one of Northern New Mexico’s most recognized folk artists. “This is my full-time work and I’m very proud of what I do. I love to carve and give every piece my full attention.”

Nambé Nativity

This 13-piece Nativity, designed by Alvaro Uribe is crafted in lustrous Nambé Alloy and rich acacia wood. With heads bowed, Mary and Joseph gaze affectionately at baby Jesus lying in his manger in front of a beautifully arched crèche of carved acacia wood. Onlookers include an angel, the three magi and their camel, a shepherd with sheep, and an ox and donkey. The dimensions are: Crèche: 6.5”H, Joseph: 5.5”H, Mary: 4”H, Baby Jesus: 2”W x 1.5”H, Angel: 1.5”W x 5”H, Wise Man 1: 1.5” W x 4” H, Wise Man 2: 1.5” W x 4.5” H, Wise Man 3: 1.5” W x 4.5” H, Shepherd: 2” W x 4.5” H, Lamb: 2” L x 1” H, Donkey: 3.5” L x 3” H, Camel: 4” L x 4” H, Ox: 4” L x 2” H.

Adoration of the Magi Icon

This brilliant Coptic Icon of the Magi offering their gifts to the Christ Child shows Mary and the baby Jesus at the center. Mary is wrapping Jesus in a blanket. Mary and Jesus have no eyes but for one another. Joseph is situated behind him and curiously eyes the Magi who are bowing before the Christ Child. This Adoration of the Magi is painted on animal hide. The image measures 15 3/4 inches wide 11 3/4 inches high.