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Tangram Christmas Art: The Nativity

(Jump to the 12 Days Set by clicking here, or see how this display was made by clicking here.)

From November 15 - December 29, 2012, there was a Christmas art display at the Utah Cultural Celebration Center in West Valley City, Utah. The annual event is called the "Trees of Diversity" and includes Christmas trees decorated in themes from around the world. A portion of that display included two sets of Christmas-themed tangrams. The one set depicted individuals from the Nativity. The other set displayed images from the old song "The 12 Days of Christmas."

Each tangram image used in these displays were designed specifically for this art project (although it turns out others have designed similar camels). The tangrams were made of colored foam ranging from 1/8" to 1/4" thick. The plaques on which the tangrams were mounted are walnut that was cut and shaped in Bartlesville, Oklahoma for this project. Each plaque was custom built for the tangram image that it would house.

The Tangram Shape
Each of the images in the Nativity display is made of the same 7 shapes found in this tangram image. Tangrams are intended to use each of the 7 shapes, no more and no less, and they are not to overlap. The images include 2 large triangles, 2 small triangels, 1 medium-sized triangle, 1 square, and 1 parallelogram.
The Tangram Shapes

The Tangram Nativity Scene

The following are brief notes on the Nativity scene trangram images.

The Nativity
Surely, the greatest and most glorious night in history was the night of the birth of the Babe in Bethlehem. Mary and Joseph could not possibly imagine how blessed they would be by the young one they brought into the world that night. Shepherds, Wise Men from the East, and angelic choirs heralded His birth, which we still celebrate today, more than 2,000 years later. It is a time of love, family, forgiveness, and festivities. This pack celebrates the wondrous Nativity with both serious and whimsical new tangram puzzles. As we enjoy the fun and frolics of this special time of year, let's also remember that wise men still seek Him.

The Nativity Display - Rough Layout
This shows all of the images from the Nativity Display in a rough layout. There are two versions of the manger scene; one with Mary and the Babe together, and one with only the Christ child in the manger. There is also a tangram representing the Holy Family's flight to Egypt. The "Flight into Egypt" and "Babe in the Manger" tangrams are intended to be stand-alone images that are not included with the overall Nativity scene depicted by the other 13 tangrams. All of the images on this page were designed for this display.

Tangram Image of the Rough Layout of the Nativity Scene

The Babe in the Manger
"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6
Tangram Image of the Manger

The Donkey
Tradition holds that Mary and Joseph traveled to Bethlehem with a donkey. Towards the end of his ministry on earth, their baby, now a grown man, entered Jerusalem for his Triumphal Entry, riding on the back of a donkey.
Tangram Image of the Donkey

The Shepherds
"And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night." Luke 2:8
Tangram Image of Shepherd 1

The Shepherds
Jesus said, "I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep." John 10:11
Tangram Image of Shepherd 1

"And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem." Luke 2:4
Tangram Image of Joseph

Mary & the Babe of Bethlehem
"And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger." Luke 2:7
Tangram Image of Mary & the Babe

Melchior - Wise Man with Gold
The gift of gold Symbolizes royalty, in this case, it honored the birth of the King of Kings. All three Wisemen are dressed in purple to represent that they were kings. One tradition holds that the Wise Man who gave the gift of gold was named Melchior, who was the king of Arabia. Another tradition holds that the three kings were each of three different races. These races have been represented in these tangrams with different colors being used for their faces.
Tangram Image of Wise Man with Gold

Balthazar - Wise Man with Frankincense
Frankincense is created when a milky white sap hardens. It Symbolizes Christ's divinity. Tradition holds that the Wise Man who gave the gift of Frankincense was named Balthazar, who was a king from the area of Saba, which is present-day Yemen.
Tangram Image of Wise Man with Frankincense

Caspar - Wise Man with Myrrh
Myrrh is a bitter, dried resin used in medicines. It symbolizes Christ's sacrificial death. Tradition holds that the Wise Man who gave the gift of Myrrh was named Caspar, or Gaspar, who was a king from Tarsus, which is present-day Turkey.
Tangram Image of Wise Man with Myrrh

The wise men likely traveled by camel to see the young Savior. The camel in this scene represents all those who make the effort to journey to the Christ.
Tangram Image of the Camel

The Stable
The manger in which Jesus lay was a feeding trough within the stable in which Mary and Joseph rested because there was no room for them in the inn.
Tangram Image of the Stable

The Star
The star led the Wise Men to the Savior, symbolizing that as we look heavenward, we will be drawn toward God.
Tangram Image of the Star

The Angel
"Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people." Luke 2:10
Tangram Image of the Angel

The Angel
"And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God ... on earth peace, good will toward men." Luke 2:13-14
Tangram Image of the Angel

Bonus Image

Flight into Egypt
About 2 years after the birth of the Savior in the lowly manger, Mary and Joseph were visited by 3 Wise Men from the East, who presented them with gifts. After their visit, Joseph was warned in a dream to flee to Egypt to avoid the wrath of King Herod, and to fulfill prophecy. The bottom triangle actually represents the 3 members of the Holy Family in Egypt.

It is believed that this was about 2 years after the Nativity, because Matthew refers to Jesus as a "young child" during their visit, and Herod kills all infants 2 years and younger, based on what he learned from the Wise Men concerning the Star.
Tangram Image of the Flight into Egypt

See How It's Made

To see how this tangram art was made, click here.

How to Make Tangram Art

More Tangram Fun

If you would like to see a Tangram Pack that has a puzzle and these images from the Nativity scene included in it, you can get to it by clicking here.

Solutions to Nativity Tangram Fury Tangram Pack

If you would like to see a set of Tangram Christmas Cards, based on these images, you can get to it by clicking here.
Solutions to 12 Days of Christmas Tangram Fury Tangram Pack