I've just been setting out my 60 piece nativity scene as part of our decorations for the festive season. New this year is a serpent and jackal to accompany King Herod - and a Caganer.
My nephew sent me the Caganer from Spain . I've had one in the shape of a shepherd for ages but this statue is a celebrity - the painter, Manet. Apparently, it is a great honour to be chosen to take on this role and is an old Catalan tradition.
A Caganer symbolises good fortune to the agricultural community and should be placed at the back of a nativity scene to ensue a plentiful harvest in the following year.
I've been using nativity figures recently in my current painting The Wasp and the Ring' to symbolise the birth of a grandson. I used the holy family, with angels and Herod's soldiers to represent the good and evil he will face in the future.