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Loyola University Museum of Art

Art Illuminating the Spirit

Retablo

Retablo, n.d.
Nicario Jiménez Quispe (Peru, b. 1957)
Painted clay, wood
The James and Emilia Govan Crèche Collection. 2009:07-21

This crèche is in the form of a retablo, or portable box depicting religious figures. Using a mixture of clay from potatoes and Plaster of Paris, Jiménez has depicted a chaotic scene in which the three wise men are joined by shepherds dressed in traditional Peruvian attire. Angels fly into the scene from all directions, adding to the festival-like atmosphere.

The James and Emilia Govan Crèche Collection comprises more than 500 nativity scenes from around the world. The collection, assembled over a 30-year period, features crèches from more than 100 countries and cultures, including works by Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, and Taoist artists.

The collection demonstrates how both Western and non-Western cultures interpret the Nativity. Through the inclusion of local architecture, clothing, animals, and materials, the Nativity story becomes personalized to each culture.

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