November 25, 2021
Barcelos Figurines celebrates Christmas with a traditional nativity scene
It is on the cold days of the approaching Christmas season that Lisbon gains new colours. But it is not only the colours of the usual Christmas lights that are brightening the streets. On this season, Lisbon is a festival of colours and memories in shades of tradition: a majestic traditional Portuguese nativity scene
An anthem to Christmas tradition, a return to its origins, and a trip down memory lane
The new Barcelos Figurines shop that opened this year in August, in Rua de S. Nicolau, near Rua Augusta, attracts the eyes and curiosity of those who pass by, with two well-dressed musicians, in extra-large size figures, who welcome us at the door, with a solemn look.
Full of light, colour, fantasy, and music from Minho region, the store is crowded with musicians, processions, the traditional roosters, saints, “cabeçudos” (big-headed figures), and “minhotas” (women from Minho), but now is filled with the magic of Christmas, in an imposing traditional Portuguese nativity scene, symbol of the Christmas season.
The truth is that the nativity scene with colourful clay images, the old-fashioned way we all remember our grandparents’ house (such good memories!) is becoming less and less usual. In this shop, we find a true Portuguese treasure where time stops, and we delight in appreciating every detail. The scenery of this enchanting village is moss. Here, small clay figures come to life around the Holy Family, flanked by the indispensable donkey and cow whose mission would be to warm baby Jesus. The Magi, the shepherds with their many sheep, the churches, rural houses, mills and bridges, the washerwomen, and villagers, venture up hills and winding paths, reproducing details of everyday scenes.
It is the magic of Christmas happening, opening doors to those who bring to mind the memory and nostalgy of happy days around the nativity scenes in villages. And to take this magic home – and relive the memories, there are cribs for all tastes, in the fantastic universe that reveals the authenticity of the popular art of Barcelos Figurines to the world.
Figurado de Barcelos – O Valor do Tempo
Rua de S. Nicolau, 81, 1100-547 Lisboa
Open every day from 10am to 8pm
As a subsidiary of the pottery industry, this art which used to use the clay left over from the production of utilitarian items to create small pieces to fit in the free spaces of the oven. These pieces, useless at the time, were toys sold for pennies at village festivals and fairs. Today, Barcelos Figurines is not useless at all. It is, as it always was, Art. An anchor of reality, in an artistic and thematic context, full of creative incursions: this is how Minho’s daily life is handcrafted recreated, creating an imaginary in molded and hand-painted pieces, generated by the hands that shape the world in the interpretation of their reality.
Presenting Portugal to the World
Valuing Portuguese heritage is the flag that the Value of Time Group has always liked to raise in order to present Portugal to the world in an original way through its 13 brands. As it is an unequivocal pillar of Portuguese culture, the popular art of Barcelos Figurines would be an inevitability to add to the brand portfolio as another unique and exceptional experience in a tribute to Portugal. As such, the Value of Time Group has joined forces with the artisans, fulfilling their decades-long dream of creating a stage where their handcrafted pieces finally achieve a status that places them in a prominent position. A noble place in the capital and a hymn to what is most genuinely Portuguese. It is the fantastic world of Barcelos Figurines, in pieces that transport the rural reality of Minho to the cosmopolitan life of Lisbon and from there to the world.