Station: [5] Alpine Crib

M: Take a look through the window of the old wine-grower's house, and you’ll see an alpine crib!

F: Usually, a crib shows the nativity, that is, the birth of Christ, embedded within a landscape or architecture with movable figurines. But here, we see the search for lodging. Joseph and his pregnant wife Mary were seeking shelter for the night, but were turned away from every door. To quote the Gospel of Luke:

M: "Because there was no room for them in the inn".

F: This alpine landscape, with its architectural structures, showcases the high art of crib building. Master crib builder Kurt Post wanted to represent the dilapidation and weathering, so he went in search of old timber, gnarled branches and other natural materials that looked weathered without needing to be treated. It’s much trickier to build in a warped and "sloppy" manner than to achieve straight lines and right angles. The barn with the collapsed roof is especially successful. Stables like that are still common in the alpine region.

M: What makes a crib perfect is a meaningful backdrop that adds plenty of depth – and preserves the mystery of what else might be going on beyond the horizon. This backdrop was painted by crib builder and background painter Alfred Fleckenstein.

F: Cribs may be built in several different styles. Oriental cribs scenes depict the period and location where Jesus was born. Other cribs – like this alpine one – demonstrate that the nativity can be embedded into any real life surroundings. Every nation and every era has its own cribs, designed in the architectural style that’s typical of the particular region.

Fotos: © Krippenmuseum und © Trüpschuch