Nacimientos: 2016

Visiting Nacimientos: Traditional Nativity Scenes from Mexico at the Mexic-Arte Museum has become a Christmas tradition for me. I had enjoyed this exhibit last year and decided to visit again.

Nacimientos—Mexican nativity sets—are often hand-made using local materials. They feature traditional nativity figures: Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, shepherds, and magi. Scenes from Mexican towns and villages are often portrayed, so other people and animals may be included in the set.

The Mexic-Arte’s exhibit included some lovely nacimientos from their permanent collection along with others that were on loan to the museum. Some of the sets were created by well-known Mexican artists.

According to the exhibit’s signage, Spanish missionaries to Mexico had encouraged local artisans to create nacimientos to stimulate devotion.

Once again, an entire wall of the museum’s exhibit was devoted to an elaborate and colorful nacimiento depicting an entire village.

A vivid red Hades was even tucked away on one side of the huge display. I’ve read that Mexican nacimientos often include devils, something which is unique among nativity traditions around the world.

Nacimientos come in all sizes. These glazed pottery figures were about three feet high and arranged in a traditional crèche setting.

A display case included an assortment of miniature nacimiento sets.

The Nacimientos exhibit will remain on display until January 29. The Mexic-Arte Museum is located on the corner of Congress Avenue and Fourth Street.

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