This Christmas scene is inspired by an eighteenth century carved wooden nativity by F. X. Schmaedl (1705-1777) of Diessen, Germany. The original nativity is located in the Klosterkirche in Diessen, Germany. Diessen is on Lake Ammersee, south of Munich. Many molds were carved out of slate to make each piece of this set. Then they cast each piece with molten pewter poured into the mold. Then the molds are opened and each piece has to be cleaned before it goes to the painters. Most of the pieces are painted on both sides. So there is much skilled labor needed to make this extensive nativity set. The Roman column in ruins symbolizes the decline of paganism and the rise of Christianity. The palm tree symbolizes the location of Bethlehem. A star can be suspended over the nativity, and the angel can be suspended over the shepherds tending their flock of sheep. The magnificent wise men have elegantly dressed servants to tend their horse and camel while the kings present their rich gifts. The humble stable sheltering Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus is in ruins. The famous eighteenth century nativity was transformed into pewter in the twentieth century and can be used with distinction in the twenty-first century.
The set has 24 pieces. All of them fit into two lovely red boxes with layers of foam inside, to protect the pewter when it is not on display. The stable is five and a half inches tall (14 cm.). The column is six and three quarters inches tall (17 cm.).