Králické betlémy - Josef Komárek

Králíky creches

     A woodcarwer Josef Komárek deals with the history of Králíky creches and also produces these creches.On these pages he mainly answers questions frequently asked by visitors of expositions of his work.

1. How do we know that we have original Králíky creche at home?
2. How do we arrange the Králíky creche correctly at Christmas?
3. What is a history of the Králíky creche?
4. What bibliography is dedicated to the topic of Králíky creche?
5. What is a liturgic meaning of individual figures (pieces)?
6. What technology did old woodcarvers use?
7. How can we mend a damaged figure?
8. What is a 100-year-old Králíky creche worth today?
9. How can we ourselves carve a missing figure of Králíky creche?

Short Summary:

     I specialize in making traditional coloured figures called kralicke (Králíky creche). They were produced for almost 300years in Žamberk region in the Eagle Mountains. Tradesmen used to sell them to the whole word. They called them „Erzgebirgsware“. The production stopped after WWII when German producers were forced to leave Czechoslovakia. The most often used colours are blue, green, rose colored, brown, black, white, and gold. The paints have several layers. First is the layer of gluy water, the second is glue water mixed with chalk and the third is polychromy of gluy colour. At the end the figure is varnished. Traditionally the wood of linden (lime tree), alder (tree) or spruce (pine tree) is used. As adhesive glue made of bones is used. Spruce wood has to be wet/drenched when we use it. The best is when it’s boiled. Figures are either 5 or 7 or 10 cm tall. The basic line-up is the Holy family. Donkey, bullock, angel with the title „Gloria“ and a comet can be added. Others figures bring presents such as fish, bread, hen, goose or flour. Kraliky creche is characterized by large number of sheep that are called “the snow of Kraliky creche”. On the holiday of Three kings the figures of kings and camels are added to the creches.


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