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Kubašta Český Betlém

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Český Betlém nativity sheet (1991) is instantly recognizable as the work of the Czech master Vojtěch Kubašta.

Český Betlém, assembled, displays the appealing art and simple contstruction found in the work of Vojtěch Kubašta 
I can't believe I've been blogging for awhile and the name Vojtěch Kubašta — the late Czech Artist, Illustrator, and Paper Engineer who has given crčche lovers some of their most beguiling nativities — has not come up.

But leave it to Carolyn Hobbes to prompt me:

Hello Alexis,

Svatava [Vizinová, of Zábrdske Betlémy Nativity Museum], sent me this Kubasta Crčche. I don't know the date or name — it would be nice to add that if you know it.

There were tears, folds, separated parts, and imaging flashes, but I think I cleanied it up well to make into a nice looking crčche.

Please look at the upper area, below the angel on each side post — there are arrows. I'm not sure what was supposed to be there, as the other figures are on the floor level. Is there a part(s) missing?

Also do you know what the banner says?


I recognized Carolyn's nativity sheet exhibiting the inimitable touch of the Czech master Vojtěch Kubašta. český Betlém was printed in Czechoslovakia in 1991, by Grafiatisk, A.S.

As you see in the large image at the top of the page, Český Betlém (Czech Crib) consists of five pieces designed so even a child could easily cut them out. Could Kubašta have had his young daughter, Dagmar, in mind when drawing this crčche masterpiece?

A diagram of the the assembled nativity is also included that shows its construction — and answers one of Carolyn's questions: about the arrow on the right, on the side post below the angel, and on the stone tower by the cat on the left.

These arrows indicate that a cut should be made from arrow to arrow to separate the snowy roof from the manger below. Then the roof is scored along the three dotted lines (indicated by red arrows above) so that it will extend forward.

The manger, as the top and bottom center red arrows indicate, is scored along its center dotted line and folds back, creating a very nice 3-D effect.

Two other red arrows, on either side, indicate that the camel-camel driver piece and the chimney sweep piece are scored and slightly fold towards us.

Similarly, red arrows on the kneeling magi-child, and magi-carolers pieces fold back and forward respectively, with the magi-child piece attaching to the manger with its A & B tabs.

The babuska and the men-and-children stand-alone pieces are supported by their respective bases which are scored along their dotted lines, after the two cuts are made on each piece, as indicated by the black arrows.

All of the assembly paragraphs above, of course, are made superfluous by Kubašta's simple construction diagram and his red (fold) and black (cut) arrows.

The banner? It proclaims, in Czech, "Glory to God in the Highest, and on Earth Peace, Good Will Toward Men."


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