The lovers of the belenismo have an unavoidable appointment until the 31 of January in the Santxotena Workshop-Museum of Artziniega (Álava). The Exhibition of Cribs of the World, as the name suggests, brings us More than 1.800 mounts that make known the culture of the nativity scene in the different communities of the 5 continents. If you want to surprise yourself with this centennial art, do not hesitate to visit the Basque town where the painter Teresa Lafragua and her husband, the sculptor Xabier Santxotena, will welcome you with open arms.

Exhibition poster

Poster of the Exhibition «Nativity scenes of the World» 2016


Lafragua and Santxotena, the artists behind the Museum

While Xabier Santxotena, disciple of Jorge Oteiza, is the one who lends his name to the Workshop-Museum and nurtures it from his numerous sculptures, his wife Teresa Lafragua is the one who directs the institution and the main supporter of the Belen Exhibition.

The sculptural work of Santxotena has a striking sensuality and an intimate contact with nature. Rationalism, expressionism or informalism are qualifiers with which we could describe their style. On the other hand, Lafragua has behind him a pictorial trajectory of more than 30 years with an abstract and very visual technique, standing out for its landscapes. Their collages They mix textures and materials.


The largest exhibition of nativity scenes in the world

This edition of this international exhibition celebrates the coming of age after 18 years showing the singularities and differences of the Nativity tradition from the most remote corners of the planet. The concept of Christmas as universality and multiculturalism through art, which opens a new range of feelings and takes the visitor directly to the place of origin of the cribs.

Move from Ready

Bethlehem coming from Moveros de Aliste (Zamora)

For this year, the organizers have prepared un total of 1.827 nativity scenes -203 of which are new acquisitions-, with a common denominator according to Lafragua itself: "Want to capture and make known, through the Bethlehem, the culture, customs, history, ethnography and anthropology of a community or a country."

The Exhibition of World Nativity Scenes not only aims to capture the hidden art behind the nativity scene in the 5 continents, but aspires to revalue the Nativity tradition and the customs of each community or country where that persists. Anthropologically and socioculturally, the assemblies help us to know the materials, clothing or trades of their places of origin.

The lighting of the Santxotena Museum for this exhibition is based on the LED technology supplied by FMAS Automation. LED strips as lighting inside the buildings, with all its accessories - power supplies, connectors and extensions - that elevate this Museum to the technological forefront.

Curiosities of an Exhibition that is much more than art

Wood, mud, cork, wicker ... are well-known materials by the nativity scenes of Spain. However, the international exhibition allows us to discover steel structures, or how ebony or banana leaves are an indispensable part of the cribs in African countries. The most distant nativity scene comes from New Zealand; the most curious, of Soviet aesthetics, came from Kyrgyzstan, a country where this custom is little more than a utopia.

The guided tour of Lafragua itself starts on the ground floor of the building, where a traditional Nativity scene decorated in the town of Artziniega stands out. The first floor is dedicated to nativity scenes from different areas of the country, where there is no shortage of distinctive features of each community. We can highlight the work "The sea pilgrims", made from wood that the waves have been depositing on the coast of Orense.


Bethlehem from Alcalá de los Gazules (Cádiz)

In the international section, where more surprises can find us, have this year to Peru as a star guest, with 130 collections exhibited. The thick clothes like the cap or the poncho of the assemblies of Machu Pichu alternate with the almost nakedness of the figures of Iquitos and other warm zones. Lafragua stands out, together with the existence in the nativity scenes of Africa of "Very primary tools, the spirituality of Asians, the color of Central or South America or the beauty and even sobriety of Europeans".

international belen

Bethlehem where Zangarrón de Sanzoles is represented, one of the parties called masquerades of winter of Zamora


(Until January's 31 you can enjoy this incredible exhibition, from Friday to Sunday and from 11.00 to 13.30 and from 16.00 to 19.00).


And you, Have you already visited the Exhibition of Cribs of the World? What do you think of the project?


Fecha: 20 / 01 / 2017|Categories: Nativity scenes|Tags: , , , |


  1. Teresa 20/01/2017 at 15:16 - Reply

    The Santxotena Museum Workshop, thanks to for their collaboration and dissemination of the exhibition Belenes del Mundo, with this article so special in its content and images that when you see them, they transmit you to those different and enriching cultures.
    The evaluation of the trajectory of this universal event is an emotional and subjective burden.

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