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Saint Francis of Assisi is credited with creating the first nativity scene in 1223 (a "living" one) intending thereby to cultivate the worship of Christ, having been inspired by his recent visit to the Holy Land where he had been shown Jesus's traditional birthplace. The scene's popularity inspired communities throughout Christendom to stage similar pantomimes; eventually, the nativity scene became an archetype in Western culture, inspiring an infinite number of works of high and popular art. More and more elaborate static exhibitions were created with wax and ivory figurines garbed in rich fabrics set against intricate landscapes.
   Nativity scenes have not escaped controversy. A life-sized scene in the United Kingdom featuring waxworks celebrities provoked outrage in 2004. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) indicates that animals in living displays lack proper care and suffer abuse. (Excerpt from Wikipedia) Roll over the image above to see the original image.

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