Monday, November 13, 2006

T’is the season.

Native American carvings always are in season. As the holidays approach, however, Nativity sets become more significant. Also known as “Nacamientos”, they reflect a strong Christian tradition that was brought to the pueblos by Spanish missionaries moving north from Mexico. Those traditions were adopted by the native peoples, with beautiful adobe chapels being constructed through out the Southwest.

An extension of this religious tradition has been the creation of Nativity sets, primarily in pottery. For a selection of these creations now available in our collection, visit our Native-PotteryLink web site. Each potter has her own style, easily identifiable by students of that potter’s work.

Some also have become more whimsical in their approach. The Fragua family of Jemez Pueblo in particular, have extended the nativity tradition to creatures such as mice, bears and others. While some may find these somewhat sacrilegious, we think they are charming and represent a valid perception of God’s creation by the original inhabitants of America.

More recently, Wilson Romero of Cochiti has begun to carve nativity sets from stones found on the Cochiti Pueblo grounds and elsewhere in the area. An example of one of his first nativity sets in shown here. It shows the beginning of a style that was to mature just a few months later. His most recent works have sold quickly.

We talked with Wilson yesterday and he reported he has new nativity sets underway in his studio. He has promised to send us a few as soon as they completed and can be shipped. Since Wilson lives on the pueblo, shipping is not as easy as running down to the local UPS store. We will be waiting with great anticipation. If you would like to be notified when the new sets arrive, please email us with your contact information at We wil let you know when we receive tthem.