We offer starter sets for Marcel Carbonel Santons (from Provence, France) nativity figures, themselves (Mary, Joseph, and Jesus). Click here to see them in Size #2 (Elite) and here to see the Size #3 (Grande). They are a wonderful way to get started and to save some money.
In addition we have created unique - each one is a one of a kind - sets that include a stable and other accessories for the Size #2 (Elite) Santons size. Enjoy the European tradition. Begin with a stable and the nativity figures. Over the years, add additional figures, trees, and miniature accessories.
#1 - Charming Creche Set. This set includes Carbonel Santons with a Carbonel Ruin Stable with trees and eight No. 2 Santons figures: Mary, Joseph, Jesus, an Angel, three Kings, and a sheep. The accessories are from Bavaria and the Erzgebirge, Germany: a hand-shaved tree, amphora, wooden ladder, sieve, ceramic pot, basket, and delicate bow saw. All hand-made.
#2 -Wonderful Carbonel Nativity Set with German Accessories. This set includes a Carbonel No. 2 (the 2-3/4" size) Courtyard Stable, Carbonel figures (Mary, Joseph, Jesus, three Kings, an Angel and a sheep) all from France. PLUS a sampling of accessories: three trees, small wooden bucket, basket, string of 3 ears of corn, and a pitch fork--all from Germany (the Erzgebirge and Bavaria).
#3 - A delightful Creche set combining French Santons with a hand-made Bavarian stable. This set includes the stable, figures, and a sample of accessories for the scene. French Santons from Marcel Carbonel - No. 2 (the 2-3/4" size): Mary, Joseph, Jesus, Angel, and sheep. An exquisite Bavarian stable in the tradition of the European Alps. PLUS: three trees, sieve, ceramic pot, wooden rake, bench, tin pan, and string of 5 ears of corn (all from Germany: the Erzgebirge and Bavaria).
#4 - An exquisite creche starter set. Combine French Santons figures with a German stable and accessories. This set includes: eight Size 2 (the 2-3/4" size) Santons from Marcel Carbonel: Mary, Joseph, Jesus, three Kings, Angel, and a sheep, all from France. A detailed hand-made stable reminiscent of the European Alps from Bavaria. PLUS: three trees (from the Erzgebirge), five ears of strung corn, a ceramic pot, sieve, bundle of wood, saw, pitch fork, and pail (All from Germany).
We are proud to sell the Santons of the Marcel Carbonel Workshop in Marseille, Provence. The Carbonel Workshop is the Premiere creator of Santons.
As one peruses the Santons literature, one discovers lists here and there of the specific Provençal characters vital to the creche. What makes the Santons creche so charming is that it is set not in Bethlehem, but rather in Provence. The nativity figures are in biblical dress. The additional creche figures typify characters found in an 18th or 19th century Provençal village, resulting in a year-in, year-out celebration of the area's history. The most authoritative list that we have found is from the book Provençal Figurines by C. Galtier and E. Cattin, translated by John Lee (Editions Ouest-France, 13 rue du Breil, Rennes, 1996). They make specific reference to "A Referendum for the Ideal Creche." Reportedly, L'Armana Prouvençau (a newspaper which we understand to be devoted to the preservation of the Provençal dialect and of all things Provençal) in 1968 published a list of 55 Santons (not including the basic nativity figures) from which they asked their readership to vote on which belonged in the "ideal creche."
L'Armana Prouvençau published the top 20 selected, with the number of votes received in the captions. The photos portray most of the figures in size #2. Almost all (or their equivalent) are available in all four sizes: Puce, #1, #2, and #3.
An interesting observation is that in my research I discovered a number of sources that suggested that there were "55 essential figures to the basic Santons nativity." This statement exists in several renown French guide books. I have the feeling that the "55" figure is mistakenly derived from Galtier's book, where he quotes L'Armana Prouvençeau and the fact that in doing their survey they provided a list of 55 Santons from which they asked their readership to select the 20 most ideal. If you know otherwise, we would appreciate your comments. We would also be interested in hearing from you regarding which figures you feel are essential.
Epiphany, the twelfth and final day of Christmas, the day of the Three Kings (the Wise Men or Magi - Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar) rests on January 6th in the Western world. It is on the twelfth day of Christmas that the Three Kings reach Jesus in Bethlehem. January 6th commemorates the coming of the Magi and the presence of Christ in the world.
In the world of Santons, the coming of Mary and Joseph to the Stable, the arrival of Jesus, and then the arrival of the Three Kings are all celebrated. The Carbonel Santons workshop offers distinct figures for the advent of Mary and Joseph in their Size #2, Elite Santons.
When the nativity is set-up in a family's home they first place Advent Mary and Joseph at a distinct distance from the stable and move them closer day by day.
On Christmas Eve the Advent Set is put away and the Kneeling Mary and Joseph are placed in the creche.
Christmas morning, of course, the Christ Child arrives.
And then the three Kings commence their journey, beginning in a spot distant from the creche, and then as with Advent Mary and Joseph, move a little bit closer each day, finally arriving in Bethlehem at the stable on January 6 to rejoice in Christ's birth.