Crèches have been around for centuries and in the Czech Republic, the people of Bohemia and Czechoslovakia were first introduced to the concept by the Jesuits in the 16th century.
Nativity sets were first available for viewing by the public when people visited local churches that had such ornaments on display, but it was only after the Emperor Josef’s 1782 ban of church and institutional crèches that the tradition of home-made nativity scene sets began to blossom.
The ban that was put in place was also touted to address the cost of creating such ornaments and decorations, which brought about the creation of paper-cut crèches, or Papirové Betlémy, translated to the “crèches of the poor.” This cultural practice became one of the most widely popular methods of creating Christmas nativities along with sets carved out of wood, which allowed a range of ornaments to be created, some quite simple, and some very extravagant.
Later on many major Czech artists, sculptors and illustrators created crèches that became significant parts of their legacies.
One such artist was Josef Lada (1887-1957), a prominent Czech painter and writer. He is still well-known for his illustrations of The Good Soldier Švejk. Josef was entirely self-taught and created his own style for drawing caricatures for newspapers, as well as for creating many popular paper crèches of the time.
Moreover, there are two important pieces of Czech history and craftsmanship related to nativity scenes: Josef Probošt’s mechanical nativity scene and the Krýza Crèche.
The former, created by craftsman, Josef Probošt, and his workmen, Josef Kapucián and Josef Friml, is an important piece of historical art that took forty years to complete and includes over two thousand carved wooden figurines. Had this nativity scene been for sale in our modern world, it definitely would have been sold at an extravagant price to a rich art collector, but this masterpiece, unveiled at the 1967 World Exhibition in Montreal, now resides at the Nativity Scene Museum in Třebechovice pod Orebem, a town east of Hradec Králové.
Beyond the awe-inspiring wooden work of Probošt’s mechanical nativity scene, there is the Krýza Crèche, the Guinness World Record holder as the largest nativity scene ever made since its induction in the Guinness Book of Records in 1998, and is the astonishing result of sixty years of laborious work by Tomáš Krýza. It is now on public display at the museum in Jindřichův Hradec.
One unique thing about nativity scenes created in the Czech culture is that they have a distinct difference than their counterparts made in other countries, who only depict what we might call the main cast of the birth of Christ; Mary, Joseph, Baby Jesus, and the Three Wise Men. But what is found in Czech artists’ and craftsmen’s work is that they include in their scenes shepherds and animals, traders and farmers, and all manner of regular everyday people bringing their own gifts to the newly born child of God.
Czech legend has it that when Jesus Christ was born, not only the three wise men came to greet him and bring him gifts,
but common villagers also grabbed the best things they possessed and rushed to bring them to the Christ Child. nativity scene for sale Buy Now http://www.ceramicnativityscenes.com/