International Nativity Museum in Bethlehem gets first Indian crib

International Nativity Museum in Bethlehem gets first Indian cribA team of artists in Kolkata has prepared an Indian crib set which they hope to send to the International Nativity Museum in Bethlehem, the place where Jesus was born. A model of the crib is on display at St Xavier's College on Mother Teresa Sarani, Park Street, Kolkata. Subrato Ganguly of Church Art Kolkata said that it is indeed a pity that the International Nativity Museum in Bethlehem which houses worldwide collection of nativity scenes does not feature an Indian crib set.

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"Our team at Teghoria workshop in Kolkata decided to come up with a typical Indian crib set," says Ganguly, a Don Bosco, Liluah, alumnus. The crib set consists of 12 figurines of various proportions and characters, some of them two feet in length, including humans and animals. The nativity scene is place in a typical Indian village hut made with bamboo and mud walls.

While the three kings and three shepherds depict the mosaic of Indian cultures, Our Lady and St Joseph are dressed in typical Indian outfit of dhoti and sari. The baby Jesus is wrapped in a white vest. Of the two animals placed on either side of the crib, one is a camel from Rajasthan while the large size cow is from north India.

Chief Minister of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee is expected to visit the crib on December 23 when she would come for Christmas celebrations at neighboring Allen Park. "The Indian setting of the crib is a welcome step to express that Christ transcends all cultures and belongs to the whole world," said Fr. George Plathottam, Secretary of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India's office of Social Communications. He said that Jesus belongs to India and to the people of this great land too as the crib rightly depicts.

The crib is a tribute to all those who have tried to incarnate Christ's message in our land. Immediately our thoughts go to the great Bengali scholar and disciple of Christ Brahmananda Upadhyaya, he added. Elisa Nucci, Artistic Director of Bethlehem museum, said, "Actually it is long time we are trying to have an Indian crib and we will be more than happy to host one."

Museum Director Salesian Fr. Mario Murru said the dimension of our standard museum display is 88 cm high, 44 cm wide and 104 cm long. Ganguly has been in contact with the museum authorities during the year for the Indian crib set which is made of fiber glass and requires a display ground area of 6 x 4 feet. Located in an 18th-century building which once served as the Salesian provincial house and orphanage, the museum which started in 1999 has a collection of over 200 Nativity representations of different styles and dimensions from 150 countries.

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