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  • Writer's pictureNeil Allen

Fr Roten Blog #31: Spain

The Jar that was a Mountain Unknown artist

This is a typical example of Spanish and Latin American crèche culture. The figures are set within an open jar to show that the Christ event has its place everywhere, even among pots and pans. Jars are readily available and protect important food stuff, such as oil, sugar and flour, against mice, ants and moisture. The jar symbolizes the need to protect what is most precious to Christian faith. In fact, the jar frequently replaced the crèche mountain in countries where neither money nor space was available to build a vast crèche landscape. The lid on top of our jar represents the shepherds' field, and the angel is sending the shepherds off to hail the newborn King. Along the painted inside wall of the jar a narrow road winds down to its bottom where Jesus and his company receive visitors. The landscape is carved in cork, the tiny figures made of wire and plaster.

Reprinted with permission: University of Dayton - Marian Library Collection. All rights reserved.

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