Amos Tay
Fragile Majesties
Pāte d'encens

This majestic nativity representation from Singapore was made by a Buddhist family. The medium used is paste from the bark of the Cinnamon tree, called pāte d'encens. The tiny but bustling island state of Singapore, formerly a part of Malaysia, is situated at the crossroad of many cultures. This nativity set reflects the influence of East and West. The baroque style of posture and vestments suggest a Latin origin, possibly Portugal or Spain. The facial expressions convey some of the mysterious gravity of Asian religious traditions. Made of pāte d'encens, the figures are light and fragile. Their brittle existence is in stark contrast with their imposing stance and proud bearing. Gathered at the manger, the kings are but fragile majesties.