28 September 2007

Uzbek Nativity

I've been looking around for a new nativity set this year, but since there isn't a lot of money to be spent on such a thing and my mother hasn't found a good one in Russia, I needed to get creative. So I've put together an Uzbek nativity from ceramic figures various Uzbekistanis (ironically, ethnic Russians and Koreans, not Uzbeks) have given us over the years.

Most importantly we have a Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus. We've had these for years and it never occurred to me that we could use them at Christmas.

And now as of a week ago, we have three wise men (appropriately enough, since one version of the story claims the wise men were from Samarqand; I still like our Kyrgyz nativity with a wise woman). These three are rather smaller than the two figures above, but we'll survive.

I'll be asking our Uzbek friends (who happen to be Uzbek) if there is any way we could find a couple of sheep or a shepherd. Or maybe a nice Bactrian camel. Since I couldn't find a place online that sells these.


  1. I have your Joseph figurine as well. Not to make you think it's not one hundred percent original... anyway, there's more than a passing similarity. It was part of a birthday gift from my students when I was teaching in a school in Chirchik, a city just north of Tashkent, back in 2005. It actually was part of a little diorama, which the students thought was hilarious, and I found distressing that they chose to give it to me specifically. It was that older Uzbek man peeping in on a large-breasted Uzbek woman taking a bath, though most of her body is under the ceramic water.

    All in all, I love the idea of creating nativities from foreign figurines, though. Wish I had more figurines to make my own - that Uzbek mother-and-child is especially good. Spot on Mary-and-Jesus.

  2. I don't doubt these are pretty common souvenirs based on how often people keep giving them to us. Although you've given me a new image of the figures I do have...

  3. my ward does a "nativities from around the world" display every December. Many of them are figures that weren't made with the nativity story in mind.

    they still totally work. Thanks for sharing yours.

  4. I have almost an identical set!

  5. I'm curious how you came by yours, mami.