Shepherds, magi, the ox and the ass… how can you say anything new about the Christmas scene? Through much of Christian history, there was actually a lot more to the story, mainly derived from the second century “Infancy Gospel of James,” the Protevangelium. This told elaborate stories of the birth, many involving the midwife, Salome.
The Protevangelium dropped out of use quite early in the West, although its influence survived in several more or less plagiarized versions. But in the eastern churches, the stories remain as popular as ever, and were often represented in icons.
And here is one of my favorites. Jesus was born, and was worshiped, and then… well of course, he needed a bath. How could Western churches have forgotten something so basic? Were those Western works written by men?
To see some other images, go to Google Images and check out “Salome midwife bath”. There are some lovely examples.