21 December 2007

Christmas Fair - Santons

Santons are small figurines made of terracotta and can be purchased painted or unpainted. They are used to build nativity scenes and are a traditional product of the Provence area of France. Menton has its own santonnier with an atelier in the Old Town.

The santon comes from the Provençal santoun or 'little saint' and the figures became popular during the French Revolution when the churches were closed and the larger traditional nativity scenes in churches prohibited. Smaller figures began appearing in homes and quickly gained popularity.

Apart from the standard figures and animals associated with the nativity (including elephants and camels), there are countless other santons depicting traditional characters from Provençal village life, including the motley fool, the miller and the blind man.

You saw a different style of santon in yesterday's post.


  1. These are wonderful and it looks like they have it all. I wish I knew a place to find so many figurines in one place.

  2. These are very attractive.

    I liked your Santa Claus picture a lot better though.

    For us old folks, it is a weary time of year. So as it winds down may I wish you and your family a very happy and healthy holiday and a prosperous new year.

    Abraham and Patty Lincoln
    Brookville Daily Photo
    Brookville, Ohio USA

  3. Gail & I have just come back from Geneva & saw some of these figures in a show about the nativity. Unfortunately it was all in French, so we didn't understand a word of it.

  4. I am fascinated by the variety and detail in these figurines. We saw some in Avignon this year but did not realize their significance - your explanation is very much appreciated.

  5. Odd, but the figures bring to mind the terracota Chinese figures.

  6. These are all so pretty.

    I know I must be terribly blind but in that first picture, second shelf from the bottom...are those figurines of ladies sitting on a...toilet?! :-0
    lol! :)

  7. very sweet! Have a Merry Christmas!

  8. i like the boy with the wheel barrow.
    I would like to be a lookyloo in this shop.

  9. Ann

    I think you are right! I noticed that too ;)

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  11. creative statue of the art. in the world.

    Get More Details


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