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The Lantern Nativity's pop up action surprises, its beautiful art delights

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There's that "wow!" moment when a flat piece opens and morphs into a 3-D marvel, but it is the beguiling art that proves to be an endless delight...

Eleven layers pop-up to create an impressive nativity scene — The Lantern Nativity. Rollover the image above with your mouse to see a side view, and its construction. 

First and foremost, a pop-up nativity requires a sturdy base. That of the Lantern Nativity has the position of all its figures marked and labeled. 
One of the elements that makes pop-up crèches so impressive are all those layers that — at the flick of a wrist! — open to create a marvelous 3-D nativity scene.

Yet, this very complexity, I think, is what has kept me from sharing with you one of the fine pop-up nativities from the Crèchemania Collection. Until now.

One could say that the Lantern Nativity was crying out to be shared. That's because, unlike most other pop-ups in my collection, it came in bits and pieces.

German vintage pop-up paper nativities are virtually indestructible, made up of almost 2/8 inch thick heavy-duty cardboard. Many have survived the decades, nay the century, after their creation in fine shape.

So I wonder: what happened to the Lantern Nativity in its past? Did an enthusiast, eager to figure out its pop-up magic, take it apart? As I child I did just that with my very first Greek paper nativity back in the early 1960s, and it still takes pride of place in my collection, still stitched together with black thread!

No matter the reason for its present condition, one thing's for sure about the Lantern Nativity. It's beautiful.

Its sturdy cardboard is coated with a layer of glossy paper that allows the German artistry — with the brush and the printing press — to shine through.

Figures, such as this braying sheep, are attached to other layers and thus pop-up when the nativity is opened. Rollover the image above to see its support. 
And due to its incredible fine embossing, you can close your eyes, run your fingers over it and just about tell if it's a Magi clad in his finery, or Joseph in his wooly coat.

Normally, all this pop-up nativity great art and sturdiness not for a Crèchemania Premium Download or Nativity Sheet make. For no one, in his right mind, would take one apart!

But the Lantern Nativity was already torn apart, so what was my excuse?

Well, it's sheer 15.5 x 13. x 5 8.5 size. Daunting, in terms of home printers.

But what really held me back from sharing it with you is its seeming complexity. Those eleven layers gave me pause.

Until I realized — what took me so long, you may well ask? — that its construction is not really complex, as the image at left illustrates.

It shows a braying sheep and its support attached to its back and to the piece immediately behind it. Thus, all pieces are joined, one to another, so that when the paper nativity is opened they all pop-up creating a wonderful, multilayered, scene.

There are the two Wise Men, standing on either side of the manger. They're attached to the manger back with it's ox and ass and hanging lantern brightly lighting the Nativity below and the Star of Bethlehem shining at its peak.

There's the manger front, with stone walls, towering to 13.5 inches. Five little angels hover over its thatched roof, as it does a white dove with outstretched wings.

The supports that make the pop-up action possible are only visible from an extreme angle. 
At the back of the manger front, a rectangular support attaches it to the manger back, as shown in the view at below left.

And so it goes. The Sheep up front is attached to the shepherd boy kneeling just behind it, besides the palms. The shepherd boy is attached to the manger front, as is the kneeling magi — too young to be called "Wise Man" — and the standing shepherd.

The kneeling shepherd at left front is attached to the standing shepherd.

The only irregularity in these attachments? The rocky steps piece, just behind the left manger stone wall, which is attached to its back.

Of course, unless viewed from an extreme side angle, these supports are not seen, and the magic that is the pop-up Lantern Nativity keeps its secret.

Instead, the eyes are focused on the baby crowned by a luminous halo and attended by Joseph and Mary, who leans to embrace her infant son.

As if this cornucopia of riches wasn't enough, the German artist, as an encore, presents us with Fröhliche Weihnachten, Merry Christmas, in a most wonderfully elegant gold script.

Can you see, in the image left, below, that the letters are raised from the page due to the embossing?

Don't you just love the fancy "F?" The embellished "W?" The intertwined lower "h" and "l?" The two curliqued "h?"

It's as though the artist hated to put down his brush.

I hope you'll enjoy the Lantern Nativity as much as I have enjoyed bringing it to you.

There's no denying the German gift for art — was "Merry Christmas" ever written in a more beautiful script? 
The only difference with the one in my collection is the size: I slightly reduced the Lantern Nativity Premium Download so that you can print at home on readily available letter-sized paper.

The Lantern Nativity Sheet is available as quality prints, on professional paper.

And, both are available as a Combo, saving you money.


— Alexis

There's the mysterious pop-action "wow!" factor, but it's the superb art of the Lantern Nativity that will be the source of endless delight. 

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