house crib
Orientalische Krippe
eastern crib
Von Kindern gebastelte Krippenfiguren in einer Kirche
of children tinkered crib figures in a church
escape to Egypt (scene of the crib in good cell, upper swabia)
introduction Jesu in Jerusalem (scene of the yearly crib in Klosterlechfeld)
Krippe mit allen wichtigen Figuren: Christkind, Maria, Josef, Hirte, Drei Sterndeuter und Tiere
crib with all important figures: Christian child, Maria, Josef, Hirte, three Sterndeuter and animals
Krippe im Saardom in Dillingen/ Saar
cribin the Saardom in Dillingen/Saar

a crib is a representation of the birth Christi from the Weihnachtsgeschichte or other scenes from the life Jesu Christi, usually by figures in a model landscape Bethlehems. The Weihnachtskrippen connects the picture world of the Adventszeit with the three-king celebration.

Table of contents

types of cribs

  • after the place of assembly one differentiates
    • church cribs
    • house cribs
  • according to the kind of the outside organization differentiates between one
    • stable cribs
    • cave cribs
    • temple cribs
    • landscape cribs
    • box cribs (thoseCrib is into a crate built)
    • board cribs (stage-like structure with Suffitten)
  • according to the style differentiates one
    • style cribs (without recognizable style, usually only figures)
    • root cribs
    • eastern cribs
    • homeland cribs
    • snow cribs (homeland cribs in winter landscape)
  • according to the design of the figures differentiates one
    • Loammandl cribs (from loam, with forms manufactured)
    • Tin cribs
    • Santons (provenzalische crib figures from clay/tone or Terrakotta)
    • Terrakotta - cribs
    • carved cribs (possibly. also dressed)
    • wax cribs
    • cribs in Biblical telling figures
  • after the explained scenes one differentiates
    • Weihnachtskrippen
    • cribs with other representations lives of the Jesu
the representation from Christi birth, often also with the Anbetung throughthe three ways from the morning country, is the most usual and most well-known crib form. Other cribs show further pictures of the Weihnachtsgeschehens (under it the Verkündigung of the gentleman and the escape to Egypt). Frequent crib scenes from the youth Christi are the Darbringung Christi in the temple and that House Nazareth with Maria at the spin wheel and Jesus, which help Josef in the carpenter workshop. Particularly in the baroque the representation of the wedding was to kana, the first miracle Jesu, likes, there the motive with a wedding company in magnificent garbs and a large fixed board particularly variousOrganization possibilities offers. Scenes of the Ostergeschehens are rarer like the introduction Christi in Jerusalem, the Kreuzigung or the holy grave.
The crib-similar representation of scenes, which do not represent the life Jesu (historical scenes, social environment representations, occupation representations etc.) as Diorama designated.
  • After the numberthe explained scenes differentiates one therefore
    • simultaneous cribs: several representations at the same time
    • change cribs: different scenes are with the same figures possible
    • yearly cribs: the entire church year can be represented
the change of the scenes belonged to the nature of each crib - and is it only by the putting of the figuresthe ways from the morning country to 6. January
  • special forms are
    • paper cribs
    • tree sponge cribs
    • Weihnachtspyramiden
    • mechanical cribs
beautiful one mechanical cribs are z. B. in the places of pilgrimage Altötting, Maria Taferl, Christkindl and Mariazell as well as in Olešnice v Orlických Horách (Giesshübel, Böhmen). The largest mechanical cribthe world is in Rajecká Lesná (free forest, Zips, Slowakei)).

typical crib figures

typical figures in Weihnachtskrippen are:

  • Jesus as a child in a crib
  • Maria, Mutter Jesu
  • Joseph, “legal father” Jesu
  • ox and donkey - you become into thatBiblical Weihnachtsgeschichten mentioned, does not have however nevertheless a Biblical reason; she is in Jesaja 1.3 - used one in the reading of the fair in the Christamas Eve text passage - and reads: An ox knows its gentleman and a donkey the crib of its gentleman; but Israel kennt'snot, and my people vernimmt's not.
  • Hirten and sheep
  • three way from the morning country (Caspar, Melchior, Balthasar) with gifts (gold, Weihrauch, Myrrhe), often with camel or elephant. For this it is to be said however that in the Bible actually only of “ways”,actually Magiern (magoi) the speech is. Neither names emerge, nor their number is noted. The Bible does not speak of kings.
  • the Verkündigungs angel (partly represented with Gloria banner in the hands)


baroque crib in good cell (upper swabia), 1704
Lebende Krippe auf dem Esslinger Weihnachtsmarkt
living crib upthe Esslinger Weihnachtsmarkt
Playmobil - crib

is not to be read in the Weihnachtsevangelium from the poverty of of the holy one family, but the Bible place, after which the child was not put to a place, which is intended otherwise for the fodder of the animals, „there in the lodging a placefor it was “, one interpreted corresponding. Thus one mutmasste thus that Jesus was not elevated conditions, but one from the simple people. Already latemedieval representations of the birth Christi were accordingly close-to-reality, so to see in the lateRoman castle chapel in Hocheppan with Bozen over1200. In connection with the theatreful representation of the Weihnachtsszene of Franz of Assisi, which placed 1223 behind in Greccio with living animals and humans the Weihnachtsgeschehen, in woman monasteries 13 is possibly located. and 14. Century spread Christkindlwiegen. This apparently continuous advancement untilto the today well-known Weihnachtskrippe by the reformation suddenly one interrupted. Encouraged by the council of Trient (1545-1563) the medal of the Jesuiten tried to animate Serviten and Franziskaner again contents of the Bible by sceneful representations. Above all Christmas as well as the passion to Easter becamein such a way more near brought. Small boxes with Biblical representations were set up in churches and became soon popular in also noble circles.

The 1562 of Jesuiten in Prague set up Weihnachtsdarstellung are today generally considered as the first denomination of a crib in the today's sense. In the following years became in churchessetting up from cribs to the Christmas season nearly to the prestige thing. After the model of the 1607 in Munich set up crib one established about 1608 in Innsbruck and 1609 in resounds such. Since the year 1615 a Weihnachtskrippe is occupied in the Benediktinerinnenkloster Nonnberg in Salzburg.

To thatmost famous cribs count to today the Neapolitani cribs, whose character-strong heads to the masks the Italian COMM dia. dell'arte reminds. The scene of the birth Christi is often embedded there in extremely complex and highly detailed road and market scenes, so that the representation of the birth often onlystill secondary matter seems. In the baroque also in Austria and South Germany (Bavaria, Swabia, general-outer) many cribs were created after neapolitanischem model.

Under empress Maria Theresia and Joseph II.if Weihnachtskrippen became by several prohibitions from the public buildings, thus particularly from the churches, banishes. A something similarProhibition issued archbishop Hieronymus Franz Josef of Colloredo Mannsfeld to 22. November 1784 for the prince diocese Salzburg. Thus the Weihnachtskrippen received introduction into the private sector. This remained, also after the prohibitions were waived.

Before in 19. Century the Christian tree general spreading found, stood thoseCrib in the center of the catholic family Weihnachtsfeier. House cribs are this very day a firm component of the domestic Weihnachtsschmucks and in all erdenklichen artistic styles and materials are manufactured. Like are also even tinkered or finished bought cribs for children, up to the Weihnachtskrippe of Playmobil from thatYear 2000.

One of the largest all-season crib exhibitions from different centuries is in the Bavarian national museum in Munich, a further in the cathedral mountain museum in freesings.

A characteristic is the form of the crib (Polish szopka) from pasteboard, usual in Krakau since approximately 1900, andmulticolored aluminum foil, which reminds of elements of the doll theatre. The Krakauer cribs is up to two meters high and reminds in its form traditionally of the architecture of the Krakauer Marienkirche, sometimes also to other Krakauer churches and the lock hill Wawel. Since 1937 organizedCrib competition is considered as a high point in the life of the city and tightens each year many participants.

The largest root wood crib of the world is established annually in the Vorweihnachtszeit in the Weihnachtsdorf forest broad brook and can be visited there to at the beginning of of February.

The model of 1223 intimate variants thatWeihnachtskrippe are their representation with living animals as well as the crib play. For example the Weihnachtsmarkt shows a crib play with living sheep , which live for the duration of the Weihnachtsmarktes in the crib in meals annually. For years annually pupils of the Lübecker Katharineums lead the 1920er to the Adventszeitthe crib play in the Lübecker Aegidienkirche in down-German language up.

Another variant stressed more strongly holy three kings escort-end star of Bethlehem by the Adventsstern or the gentleman guardian the star.

Crib ways like the 1996 imported Cologne crib way summarize old traditions of the churches spaciously.

acquaintance crib farmer

  • Franz de Paula Hitzl
  • winner seal
  • Manfred Lipienski
  • Hanns Rabitsch
  • Xandl of flabby


selection of all-season exhibitions:

see also: Crib (term clarifying), Praesepe (crib), crib play, crib way


  • Gerhard Bogner: The new crib encyclopedia. Knowledge - symbolism - faith. A manual for the crib friend. Finch, lime tree mountain 2003 ISBN 3-89870-053-4
  • Erich Egg, Herlinde Menardi: Animal oilers the crib book. The crib from the beginnings to the present. 2. Aufl. Tyrolia, Innsbruck 2004 ISBN 3-7022-2604-4
  • Ursula Pfistermeister: Baroque cribs in Bavaria. Theiss, Stuttgart 1984 ISBN 3-8062-0398-9
  • Alfons Rudolph, Josef Anselm aristocracy man of Adelmannsfelden: Swabian baroque cribs. Theiss, Stuttgart 1989 ISBN 3-8062-0815-8

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