Up for sale is a beautiful antique 18th century Neapolitan creche figure which stands an impressive 18" tall. He has a molded terra cotta shoulder head with lower arms and legs made of the same material. These are mounted on a metal wire armature body that is wrapped in a natural material, possibly hemp or some other type of yarn. The figure has soulful brown glass eyes which are so sad looking, but they add realism to the fearful countenance of this figure. Perhaps this character represents one of the shepherds, who while keeping watch over his flock, first sees the multitude of angels announcing the birth of the Christ child.
The figure has just remnants remaining of his light blue silk robe, which is all in tatters. Scattered about here and there are some very beautiful and detailed woven stars sewn onto the fabric. The clothing could be easily replaced by draping some old silk fabric to fashion a robe. The features are hand painted, and beautifully rendered. There are small flakes of paint missing, especially around the nose. There is gorgeous modeling and detail of the feet and sandals. Some of the clay material has chipped off the bottoms of the sandals, but the beautiful feet are unharmed. One lower leg is not permanently attached, but that would be the easiest part of this repair. There are molded holes in the bottom of the sandals for mounting the figure to a large presidio scene. There are holes molded into the back and top of the head, likely for attaching some kind of head wear. The hands are the biggest issue with only two digits remaining between them!
This was likely made in Italy in the late 18th/early 19th century, and may have graced one of the beautiful old cathedrals there in its day.