Vintage Nativity Scenes for the Holidays

Mickey | Home Furnishings | Monday, November 29th, 2010

When it comes to antique or vintage Christmas decorations, nothing can compare with the venerable nativity scene, or creche.  Being based on the recounting of the actual birth of Christ in the New Testament, such items reflect the actual inspiration for the celebration of Christmas itself.

Nativity scenes were first created over one thousand years ago.  Over the centuries they have been produced in most corners of the world whether for domestic use in Christian countries or for the export market in others.

The simplest of these feature just the Christ child, typically displayed in a manger full of hay, along with the Virgin Mary and father Joseph.  However, nativity scenes most typically also include shepherds as well as the three Magi.  At least one angel is almost sure to be included.  A collection of barnyard animals is another common feature.  However, some displays also include a variety of worshipers and a whole menagerie of animals.

Nativity scenes have been constructed of just about every sort of material imaginable.  It’s believed that the earliest ones were carved from wood.  In light of the desire of medieval and later wealthy and royal persons to have such displays, they have been carved from stone and even costly marble.

In later centuries it became common for more common people to set up nativity displays in or outside their homes.  In addition to keeping up the tradition of wood carvings, ceramic versions came to be mass produced.  As time went on, papier mache and composition models emerged, and ultimately plastic and even cardboard versions hit the market in order to satisfy demand among the less well-off.

One company renowned for it’s Nativity figurines is the Lepi Company.  It was established in 1920 in Italy.  This company has a long history of carving high quality wooden figures.  If you can find a genuine Lepi creche you can be sure that you will have one of the finest models available.  It will make a fine addition if you are using vintage Christmas decorations as part of your holiday theme.

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