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Blue Andean Christmas Handcrafted Christian Theme Christmas Retablo Diorama

Blue Andean Christmas Handcrafted Christian Theme Christmas Retablo Diorama

Regular price $44.95
Sale price $44.95 Regular price
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SKU: SKU: SK-NVC-243892

Product Features
Working with Fair Trade certified organizations is an important part of what we do. This product is made by artisans that are fairly compensated for their skilled work, and helps provide a living wage as well as safe work conditions.

Watching over their tiny son, Mary and Joseph smile as shepherds worship in the blue Andean night. Beneath, an Andean hat shop offers sombreros for sale. Alejandro Chávez portrays the scenes on two levels in three dimensions. This traditional diorama is known as a retablo; each figurine is modeled and painted by hand.

  • materials: Plywood and ceramic
  • Signed by the artist
  • Hand-crafted item -- color, size and/or motif may vary slightly
Open: 12 in. H x 14 in. W x 2.6 in. D; Closed: 12 in. H x 6.75 in. W x 2.8 in. D

Artisan Information

Alejandro Chavez

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Alejandro Chavez was born in Lima in 1956. He specializes in creating retablos, a kind of reverent diorama-altar typical of the Ayacucho region of Peru. He learned this technique as a boy in school, when living in Ayacucho, where his parents moved when he was just two years old.

For Alejandro and his family, the 1980s were painful. All of Peru was bleeding as a result of the armed conflict between the Sendero Luminoso terrorist group, who threatened and conscripted rural farmers, and the Peruvian army, who arrested or killed anyone they found suspicious. The Chavez family fled to Lima where they found peace once more through their retablo art. However, they lost several of their friends.

"Some died, others were jailed, even when they didn't know how to read or write," he says. "Because of the war, they had to drop out of school and leave the artisan workshops they loved in nearby Huamanga. They acquired some knowledge of the retablo art but they withdrew because it was no longer safe to leave their homes.

"Life in Lima was quite different. The quiet small town life we were accustomed to no longer existed in the huge cement jungle of the capital. Our traditional Ayacucho fiestas such as the yunza tree and the Dance of the Scissors, have died out here.

"To fight boredom, I worked at different jobs. People like me who had recently arrived in Lima began working as stevedores in the city's fishing port. After that, I sold fruit in a market stall. Finally one day, a cousin convinced me to try my luck in a workshop where they crafted Ayacuchan retablos. When I visited the workshop, I couldn't believe it when I saw these beautiful art forms once again.

"So I returned to my roots. I began working in the studio of Angel Castro, a master artisan, who taught me. Here I refined my techniques. After the death of my teacher, I formed my own workshop continuing to give shape to this art form. The customs and traditions of the Andean people — especially those of Ayacucho — emerge in every piece we make.

"Over the years, I perfected my abilities and became recognized as a master retablo craftsman. In some, I depict Biblical scenes and, in others, everyday life in the Andes. I did this for eight years. It was exhausting to create my retablos and then try to sell them in artisan fairs. I had to carry several at a time and go door to door, offering them to shops and stores.

"I've been married since 1985 and my wife and I successfully faced some really tough times. We were unable to have children. We finally gave up on fertility treatments and decided to adopt. We found a seven-year-old girl and a three-year-old boy, and raised them with all our love as though they were our own. Now that they're older, the girl is here with us and the boy went to live with my mother in Ayacucho.

"I began working with you in 2007 when I learned your support could let make a living from my art and give me the hope of a better future. Thanks to what I earn from the sale of my retablos, I've been able to give my family a better lifestyle and, especially, to help my daughter Carol with her studies now that she's a young mother. Since then, things have gone well.

"Today, I can say that my pain from those difficult times in Ayacucho has healed. I've been sharing the culture and traditions of Peru through my retablos. And I plan to continue with this art as long as God permits it."

Supplier Information

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NOVICA was started with a dream to create a better world for artisans, because a better world for artisans is a better world for all.

Along the way, the founders of NOVICA discovered something very important - as artisans around the world succeeded, there was also a visible and profound impact on the communities around them.

Your purchases are that powerful. They directly and indirectly provide for education, help with health care, fund basic needs, support children, preserve disappearing arts, and of course, spread happiness around the world.

The founders of NOVICA had a vision of the future that is not one of mega factories producing cookie cutter products for all to cheaply consume. Instead, a bright future that celebrates artisans who take the time to create an item by hand. A future where time is protected, where stories are told, where unique details are honored. Love, respect, inclusiveness become driving force.


United States shipping only. Expedited shipping is unavailable. Allow for 1-2 days extra processing time. This product may ship separately from other products in your order and may have longer than normal shipping timelines as it will ship directly from its country of origin.


All sales of this product are final -- we do not accept returns or issue replacements unless there is a defect with the product. Please review our Returns & Exchanges policy.

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