The santons appear during the French Revolution, when Catholics are hiding to celebrate the festival of the Nativity. To decorate the nursery, it uses small cardboard characters, which quickly on sculptera in clay. The "santoun" Provencal language, is simply a small saint.
Today, the real santons are sculpted in clay before being dried, then varnish. A plaster mold is then fired in this draft. The gouache will then give final touches to santon.
The first is known santon Marseilles, sculpted by Lagnel. It is exhibited at the museum of Old Marseilles.
The Holy Family : Jesus, its representation varies from time to time. Near him, Mary and Joseph are kneeling. The Virgin wears a tunic and a clear blue coat. Joseph is wearing a brown coat and a tan overcoat. An angel plays trumpet, is the Angel Boufareu (angel plump).
The donkey and beef : animals traditional in Christian imagery, they are generally lying.
The shepherds : pastoral land, Provence could not forget the shepherds, these often a lamb on their shoulders or in their bras.
Lou Ravi : with or without a hat at night, arms raised to express his joy at the coming of Messiah.
Lou Boumian : bearded, a large black hat, a red cape with a knife to the belt is the thief of a child, the character inquitéant the crib.
The Meunier : with her white dress and red hat, often depicted with a bag of flour on the shoulders.
The Old : a couple, Margarido, dressed carefully (for Mr. habit, lace headdress for madame). Mr illuminates the road to his lantern. With them Roustido, elegant man with a big red umbrella.
Small businesses : the baker and his fougasses, the fisherman and his net, valets, laundress, Jourdan the pistachio ...