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The Sacred Bounty of eBay

Ebay can be an amazing source of rare and beautiful nativities . . . if you can wade through the 250,000 search results when you search for "nativity"! Fortunately, my wife, Diane, is expert at narrowing down to the kind of pieces in which we are interested. Here is an outstanding example of an exquisitely carved set available on eBay this year:

The only information that the clueless eBay seller offered about this set was "made of olive wood." Good try, but WRONG! Olive wood has very distinct grain and figuring, and this is definitely not olive wood! The carving is excellent and the style of the clothing and faces are distinctive.

With no authoritative information, my wife then began to look for clues as to the origin. Having collected nativities for so many years, she has learned the styles and elements of many cultures around the world. She considered the shape of the figures, the style and drape of the clothes, the faceted edges and Alpine "A" shape of the creche, that Joseph was holding a lamp instead of a crook, the style of the beards. Her conclusion was that this was expertly sculpted by a German artist.

Knowing the origin is fun, but what's important is that a gifted artist used his or her talent to express the wonder of the birth of Christ. As we look at these pieces, we can put ourselves into that wonderous event and draw closer to our savior. That is the real value that comes from these eBay purchases.

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