After being stored in a warehouse for over eighty years, a ¾ life-sized Nativity has recently been donated to the National Christmas Center by Target Stores.
The vintage crèche, originally displayed by Marshall Fields & Company, consists of twenty-two pieces that include the Holy Family, shepherds, kings, camel drivers, musicians, livestock, and three camels that stand almost six feet high.
The carving, particularly the camels, resembles the best in carousel figure art. It is distinctive in the details depicted by the artist/artists.
One king has an ermine shoulder cape over a heavy robe and undergarment. Each layer is suggested by a different type of carving. Joseph is holding a lantern and even the link of chain is carved of wood.
Two bag pipers included in the tableau suggest the Nativity originated near the Austrian/Italian border. It is estimated that the carvings are approximately one hundred years old.