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HomeDating Over 50Did You Know Tis the Season for Santons (Son-tonns)?

Did You Know Tis the Season for Santons (Son-tonns)?


In southern Provence, particularly this time of 12 months, you may run throughout these itsy-bitsy collectible figurines, and also you may not know what they’re. Upon questioning the shop/market proprietor, you’re informed they’re Santons. Properly, you continue to don’t know what they’re so let’s attempt to discover out and get a greater understanding of those colourful collectible figurines.

What Are Santons?

A santon, or santous, or santouos, or “little saints” are petit hand-painted collectible figurines made out of terracotta (clay) from Marseille or Aubagne within the Provence area of Southeastern France.

Why Do These Little Collectible figurines Have Such a Large Historical past?

Some imagine that the unique santons arose from the primary dwelling nativity scene stated to be created in 1223 by St Francis. For certain we do know that the santons of right this moment have been created by the French individuals in the course of the French Revolution within the 18th century as a counterrevolutionary motion.

Throughout the starting of the French revolutuion, the federal government closed down all church buildings and banned the show of nativity scenes in properties. Consequently, in privateness, commoners began making their very own small collectible figurines out of something that they had at hand – fabric items, paper mache and even dried bread. At nice danger, these devoted individuals nonetheless continued to show their beloved santons of their properties.

In Marseille, Jean-Louis Lagnel began his personal type of revolution in 1797 by molding small figures out of clay. Lagnel’s purpose was to make the santons reasonably priced for the peculiar individual. Through the use of clay as an alternative of wooden carvings, Lagnel was capable of maintain the worth down. Sadly, Lagnel’s santons weren’t fired because the santons are right this moment and broke simply.

What and Who Does a Santon Grouping Depict?

On a regular basis life has at all times been represented in a santon set. You can see conventional colourful tradesmen and girls represented of their work expertise of their villages. Bakers, tailors, milkmaids, gardeners, vegetable sellers, chestnut sellers, candlestick makers and youngsters are all widespread figures.

Animals corresponding to canines, geese, cows, geese, sheep, donkeys, cats and chickens simply to say a number of seem all over the place. Structural buildings, barns, bridges or something that is likely to be wanted to type a village may also be displayed.

How Are Santons Made?

To start with, the making of a santon is certainly a labor of affection and endurance. An artist, known as a “Santonnier” will go to nice bother to convey his newly made determine to life. It isn’t unusual to seek out them spending hours trying to find twigs or crops to connect to their creations.

As soon as the excellent “accent” is discovered, he’ll “santonnifie” the santon, in different phrases, convey the santon to life. Many Santonniers work in household enterprise, passing the commerce down from technology to technology.

The Santonnier begins his creation by carving the unique determine from clay. As soon as carved, a two-piece plaster forged is made and several other extra figures are made though by no means mass produced. Later, the drying course of is completed in a kiln and the hand portray course of begins.

The normal vivid colours of Provence are at all times current – yellow, inexperienced, pink and blue. Santons will are available many sizes however principally between two to fifteen cm in peak.

The place to Discover These Treasured Collectables?

I discovered my prized set at a flea market in a Provencal city known as L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue. Additionally, in the course of the months of November and December in southern France, there are a number of vacation regional festivals and exhibitions promoting santons, and naturally in Aix-en-Provence and Marseille, the place they originated.

Marseille even holds a Santon competition, which has been occurring since 1803. It’s known as the “Foire aux Santons (Santon Honest). After all, additionally, you will discover retail shops specializing in nothing however santons.

Let’s Have a Dialog:

Do you have got a prized santon set? If that’s the case, the place did you get yours? What does your set depict?



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