#245 Russian Birchbark

Acquired 2000

From Serv, International mail-order catalog, this Birchbark Nativity from Russia has a stable door that opens and closes. When opened it reveals the figures: Mary, Joseph, Jesus, manger, and a sheep. Purchased November 2000 - $18.95.In Russian folklore the birch is the “Tree of Life' and its bark, at once utilitarian and decorative, has been used for centuries. When the sap rises in May, the careful harvest begins. The bark is boiled for flexibility and stored in layers; the trees heal within three years. The bark is then woven, incised, layered, glued, or colored with natural dyes - all of which can be seen in the Birchbark Nativity.