I've never really been much into dolls, but these figurines are a bit different. These are French santons made in Provence. Santon means “Little Saint”. These charming clay figurines date to the 1700’s in France. During the French Revolution citizens were denied the freedom to worship as they pleased. Especially during the Christmas season nativity displays were forbidden. So the locals started making small figures representing everyday life such as farmers, weavers, bakers and fishermen. Each figure carries an item to represent their profession. These characters were placed in shop windows and homes but on Christmas Eve the Christ Child would be placed among them and the simple peasants stood in for the Magi bearing their humble gifts for the baby. Santons are still made in Provence today and are valued by collectors.
Santons are lovingly made by artisans who sign their work usually by a stamp in the clay.
The attention to detail is amazing.
I love seeing the simple peasants gathered around the Holy Family.
So if you see a little French peasant doll, remember the story of the Little Saints who have come to worship the Christ Child.
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