Chris Thomas was an American Indian of Pima and Laguna Pueblo descent who lived in Santa Fe. He designed and created dozens of small nativities with a southwest theme. No two nativities were alike. Chris died too soon, at the age of 50. Collectors seek out his work, which can only be found in the estates of collectors or when a collector is willing to sell. This Chris Thomas nativity has a design seen on the embroidered kilts of Pueblo men when they dance traditional dances in the plaza of their pueblo. The outer wooden frame has been precisely cut in a stairstep design associated with kiva steps. Kivas are the ceremonial chambers of the pueblos. The figures inside are dressed in pueblo style clothes. Mary wears a black dress called a manta. She holds the Baby Jesus in her arms, all wrapped up. Joseph’s hair is in a traditional pueblo man’s style, fastened with red yarn. Both Mary and Joseph wear moccasins with black soles. A large gold star is painted on the back wall. This nativity can sit, or it can be hung on the wall. The amount of authentic detail is amazing and could only occur when the artist is intimately familiar with Pueblo culture. The base is five inches wide ( 13 cm.) and three and three quarters inches tall ( 8 cm.).
Pueblo Kilt Nativity by Chris Thomas, 2005
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