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A paper crèche classic — the Twelve-pointed Star Nativity

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One of the crèche world's gems...

Simple construction — three pieces connect with tabs and slots — and beautiful art make the Twelve-pointed Star Nativity a favorite among crèche enthusiasts. 

A smaller version of the Twelve-pointed Star Nativity from the Celso Battistini C. Rosa Collection features a curved front and mirror-image figures. (Photo by Celso Rosa.) 
It's always great fun to hear from my buddy Celso Rosa and see photos of the intricate three-dimensional dioramas he's works on for his monastery Christmas Nativity Exhibition.

But the images he has sent me are of his latest Internet paper nativity acquisition (see image at left). Celso, I should point out, is an Internet nativity hound, finding and snapping up all these wonderful paper nativities —before I even have a chance to bid.

How else can a guy in far-away Brazil augment his collection than outbid me every time? It's a safe bet for me to assume that, if a nativity is not on its way to my U.S. address, it's heading south of the equator, to his.

But what is this? Did he mistakenly hit his "send" button too many times? Hmmmm. These aren't photos, but scans! Did Celso really take an X-Acto knife in hand and dismember his new crèche for my sake? Unthinkable, but how sweet is that?

"It's the least I can do," Celso writes, "for all you have given us on Crèchemania."

Wow! I certainly didn't expect to see a nativity I lost on a bid in my inbox — at full resolution!

And what a nice nativity it is. It measures 4.75 x 3.5 x 5 inches, and features an unusual curved front, something you don't often see in the paper nativity world.

This front, filled with images of shepherds, sheep, a wooden fence, and palm trees draped over a straw roof with "Gloria in Excelsis Deo!" written on it, fits into manger slots with tabs. The roof folds back and slides into a horizontal slot in the manger, creating a nice 3-D effect.

Fantastical crowns adorn the Wise Man of the Twelve-pointed Star Nativity. Note that the figures in Celso's crèche are mirror-image from the ones above? 
But it is the nativity's figures that have me intrigued: where have I seen them before?

Two shepherds and Joseph stand at the left, while a little angel kneels in adoration in front of a sheep.

At the center, the Virgin holds the Child in her lap, his hands raised in response to the Magi at right.

The Magi, as befits Kings of the East, are richly clad: one in ermine and long red cape kneels, a second crowned with a red-striped turban and conical gold crown stands, a third wears a large turban and crown studded with large jewels.

It's a marvelous gathering, and then I remember where I have seen it before: in my collection!

After opening a few drawers — one of the joys of paper crèches is their ease of storage since the fold-out and pop-up nativities fold — there it is: the Twelve-pointed Star Nativity.

The real one, that is, because as I mentioned to Celso, just a day ago I uploaded another Twelve-pointed Star Nativity, so I have better change that one to "No. 2," (see bottom of page).

Both No. 2 and the Twelve-pointed Star Nativity are of similar construction: the Front's side walls fold back, the Figures piece is inserted into slots on the two side walls, and the whole assembly fits into the Manger four slots with tabs.

Then the four tabs of the roof, which also folds back, are inserted into the Manger. And "assembly" is done! What could be simpler?

Both nativities feature large arched manger windows, with No. 2 featuring panes, the Twelve-Pointed Star iron bars, and the side wall of each crèche is pierced by six-pane windows.

Both nativities feature a shepherd, shepherd boy, and sheep on the front, and No. two includes a sheep and ram on the second, Figures, layer.

The embossing of the Twelve-pointed Star Nativity No. 2 gives the figures a lovely relief. 
But there the similarities end: No. 2 seems almost overgrown in greenery, while the Twelve-Pointed Star nativity features a climbing trellis drooping with red flowers.

The figures, too, couldn't be any more different, with those of the Twelve-pointed Star rendered in a more primitive, but no less beautiful, manner.

The little angels in No. 2 — so small as to be almost lost in the large "Gloria in Excelsis Deo!" banner, are replaced in the Twelve-pointed Star Nativity by much larger ones, with two of them blowing horns.

And the Twelve-pointed Stars themselves? Both are luminous, different in the six smaller rays to be found among the six large ones of the Twelve-Pointed Star nativity.

By the way, did you notice that the Figures in Celso's nativities are mirror-image of those of Crèchemania

The Twelve-pointed Star Nativity is available as a Premium Download, Printed Sheets, and a special-priced Combo.


— Alexis

While very dissimilar in artwork, the Twelve-pointed Star Nativity No. 2, above, features similar contruction with its namesake No. 1, shown at the top of the page.  

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