Cribs that tell a story

Little Statuette

Cribs that tell a story

DEVOTED: A man placing Infant Jesus in the crib.

It is curious that the fascination of these cribs never fades, even though the figures sometimes grow old and chipped, the background, with its brown paper rocks, sprinkled with glittering silver, become more fantastic every year. While people may smile at the extravagance and tinsel and silver paper of some church cribs,  they still take turns to queue up to light candles and gaze into the manger. Children love the fact that the crib tells a story with a baby in it and will often lift out the baby Jesus to nurse and kiss it inspite of discouraging looks from parents and church wardens.

In many homes, setting up the manger or crib is a favourite family activity, come Christmas time. In Bangalore, they vary from high-end lladro collectibles, which come with a whopping price tag, to brightly coloured inexpensive little Statuette bought from decoration stalls and a whole range and variety in between.

“We start growing little patches of ragi and coriander a couple of weeks in advance in a spot designated for the crib.The gardener, who is very good with his hands, then puts up a manger made entirely out of straw. We add little houses, wells, grazing animals and a background of sparkling stars. My children love arranging the little statues of Mary and Joseph along with the shepherds, animals and other figures who are moved closer each day in anticipation of the arrival of the Christ Child. The the figure of the Baby Jesus remains hidden until Christmas morning, when the children ‘discover’ Him in the manger,” says Meena Susairaj who feels that the crib is the most important part of her Christmas decorations.

Pamela Staines has a beautiful crib set consisting of the figures of Mary Joseph, the three wise men and baby Jesus made entirely of Bohemian crystal. “It is my pride and joy and very simple to lay out. All I use is a sparkling white layer of fabric on which I carefully place the twenty two pieces of finely crafted crystal on it. I use focus lights that I have specially installed to pick out the facets of the crystal. In soft lighting the crystal figures sparkle and become the focal point in the room ” she says.

Graphic designer Sunila Abraham's crib set is made of abstract figures carved from wood. “I found this amazing wood carver making little figure our of discarded coffee stumps  when we went on a holiday to Chikmagalur. I commissioned him to make a full crib set giving him the design and he followed it to the letter. People like the unusual design that is very different from the typical figures available in the stores,” she says.

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