The majority of representations of Jesus produced by the Cybis studio date from the 1950s and, as far as we know, those were all cast from molds they purchased from commercial mold companies such as Holland, Atlantic, and others. The Jesus sculptures fall into four categories: busts, full figures, crucifixes, and wall mounted items such as plaques and holy water fonts.
(The Cybis pieces shown below originally appeared as part of the larger Religious Items post but have now been given their own separate retrospective here.)
Several of the Jesus sculptures were meant as companion pieces to a corresponding Mary/madonna design, even though each was named and sold separately. It is interesting that although Cybis continued to produce madonna sculptures throughout the studio’s operation, there were no Jesus pieces introduced after the 1950s except for two nativity-related items.
The Sacred Heart of Jesus bust was part of just such a 1950s “companion pair”. It is slightly more than 6.5″ high overall and was typically produced in a glazed finish as shown. Exact retail pricing is unknown but probably sold for $10 or less. The companion bust was Immaculate Heart of Mary which can be found in the Early Madonnas post. As shown in the second photo, some bases were decorated with a flower and some were not. A typical signature is their blue-stamped Cybis Fine China.
This Jesus bust is also approximately the same size (7″ high) and of the same era. It is from a Holland Mold Company mold which appears to have also been sold by Atlantic Molds later on. It too had a companion Mary bust; she wears a blue veil and is also included in Early Madonnas. The second photo shows the underside of both busts; notice that the Jesus one is stamped Cybis but the Mary one is not. However, both pieces still have the mold number written in pencil (which should have been removed during production): 2064 and 2065. This post discusses the Cybis mold numbering system, but suffice to say here that all of their religious mold numbers began with the number 2. This is one way in which the occasional unsigned 1950s Cybis piece can possibly be identified even though it was not name-stamped.
A trio of these Jesus busts with a floral decoration. A recently discovered quirk is that the version of this bust with a rose decoration added was assigned design #244. The version with no roses was design #2064. (The rose-decorated “companion Mary bust” was design #245.)
Here is another anonymous Jesus bust (anonymous as to what Cybis may have called it, that is) done in their Cypia-tonation finish. It is 9″ high and stamped Cybis Fine China in brown on the underside.
Here are the first two busts together for a relative size and workmanship comparison. One is signed Cybis and one is not, but they are both clearly from the studio. Learn more about how to identify unsigned 1950s Cybis in this post.
Ecce Homo is 10″ high; it was first introduced in the 1950s and retired in 1964. It sold for only $15 during that entire time. Cast from a commercial/purchased mold, possibly Holland’s. Although the 1979 Cybis catalog says it was only made in white, Cybis in Retrospect says it was produced in several colorways: “white, decorated, glazed, decorated”. Clearly the base of the example above was color even though the bust itself is pure white. The ‘companion Mary piece’ was Mater Dolorosa.
This is the “glazed, decorated” version.
This without-base, Cypia-tonation version was among the backstock sold in the studio’s 2019 liquidation.
Sun of Justice is 17″ high overall and was produced only during the 1950s. The intricate wood halo was attached to the flat back of the bust with a green adhesive which becomes brittle over time and sometimes fails. The companion Mary bust, Mirror of Justice, was sold separately and is shown in the Early Madonna Busts post.
This piece is neither an original Cybis nor from a Holland Mold; it is a replica/copy of a late-1800s piece by Italian sculptor Richard Aurili (1834-1914.) Numerous vintage European replicas of this bust can be found in plaster or terracotta, usually painted to resemble bronze. It’s not known why Boleslaw Cybis chose to reproduce this particular Aurili piece in porcelain and without any attribution. Perhaps he thought it would be well enough known without that, e.g., similar to the various replicas of Michaelangelo’s David. However, it’s more likely that very few people in the United States would recognize it as being another person’s work.
This bisque, Cypia-tone version has neither halo nor base but does have the impressed ‘eagle’ mark on the back. It is 11″ tall.
And here it is in a glazed white finish. The hole in the back of these suggests that the no-base, no-halo versions were intended to hang directly on a wall via a nail. Thus, it would be reasonable to name these versions as “Sun of Justice Wall Bust”, but….
The fly in that ointment is the underside which still has the large hole that is needed for the toggle bolt that would attach it to a wood base. That gaping hole would be very visible if the no-base/no-halo version were hung on a wall…but does it make any more sense to have a flat-back “tabletop” version with a hole in the back clearly intended for hanging? In view of that, I’ve decided to dub the no-halo/no-base versions as the basic Sun of Justice.
Here is a side-by-side comparison. And we also now know where those wood halos came from: They are made-in-India carved wood trivets!
The studio normally sanded off the “India” stamp on these, but at least one slipped through the cracks…probably because an old red-and-white 1950s Cybis sticker once covered part of it. I wonder if some purchasers thought that the entire piece had been made in India!!
A known but as yet un-pictured bust was a circa-1950s Bust of Christ that was 17″ high, made in both white and color. This may have been something similar to Sun of Justice. During its production years the price went from $30 to $65 for the white, and $37.50 to $72.50 for the color. Like the other busts, there was a companion mold named Bust of Virgin Mary (also not pictured yet) with the same colorways and pricing history.
This figure of Jesus as a young boy was sold as Jesus, Most Obedient for $25 during the 1950s and was supposedly made in white only. It is 9.5″ tall overall.
The same mold was used, sans halo, for this piece which was cited as being 11″ high overall. It has the same gold skin as seen in one of the House of Gold and Madonna and Child pieces from the same era (see the Early Madonnas post for both.) From this piece and the foregoing we can guesstimate the height of the Jesus mold itself as being 7.5″. It’s not known if this version had a specific name, so at the moment I am calling it the young Jesus with hand raised.
The Cybis signature here was done in an unusually bright red paint.
I honestly have no idea whether this was intended to represent Jesus as a boy, or perhaps an altar boy or acolyte, holding a cross. Therefore, I have called him simply young boy with cross and put him in this post as well as the general Religious Items one. He is 7.5″ high and was design #237.
Cybis produced at least three full-figure Sacred Heart of Jesus figures during the 1950s, in different sizes and from different molds. This is the smallest of them, at 8″ high overall, so I’ve dubbed this the small Sacred Heart of Jesus figure. A strong argument can be made in favor of this being considered their Cypia tonation. Exact production years and actual Cybis name (if it had one) are not known.
This is the medium size at 10.5″ high overall. Notice the molded pattern on the robe, and the “lace” sleeve ends. For the sake of clarity we’ll call this the medium Sacred Heart of Jesus figure. Its exact production years, retail name, and pricing are unknown.
The large Sacred Heart of Jesus figure includes a halo and was supposedly made in both plain white bisque and color. Sold from the 1950s until retirement in 1964, the white version was $20 and the color $25. This version is 12″ high overall. This example would be considered “stained glass decoration” with accents in “old coin gold.” This is actually called “Sacred Heart” in the 1978-79 Cybis catalog Appendix.
Here is the same piece but without the gold accents.
The Nativity Murals (first Cybis nativity set) from the 1950s included a piece called the Holy Family composed of several separate molds grouped upon a base. The studio purchased the molds from the Atlantic Mold Company; this is the Jesus-in-manger mold used in the Cybis Holy Family nativity group, in the bisque color finish. The set was also produced in a glazed color finish as well as in plain white bisque.
There were two slightly different versions of this baby Jesus in particular. In the earlier version, the baby, the blanket, and the manger are all one single piece (one mold.) In the later version the baby was a separate piece so that the manger could be left empty until (as per tradition in some Catholic households) Christmas Day when he would then be placed inside it. See the first Cybis nativity post for the other differences between the earlier and later versions of the Holy Family piece.
This Christ child in crib is from the 1950s but is not the same one that was used in the nativity set. It is about 3.5″ square and tall, and is a good example of what the studio called their “stained glass decoration” (painted in color and highly glazed.) The baby is not removable. Many thanks to the Archive reader who supplied these photos, which replace the rather inadequate black-and-white image that previously illustrated this piece!
Part of the first group of introductions within Cybis’ second nativity set (‘The First Christmas’) in 1982 was the Christ Child with Lamb. It was available as a color piece ($275) or as white with gold accents ($215.)The baby is removeable from the manger as a nod toward the Catholic tradition of not placing him there until Christmas Day. In the 1990s Cybis also grouped this piece along with the separate Mary and Joseph figures onto a single porcelain base and sold it as The Holy Family.
This extremely puzzling piece dates from the late 1980s and clearly includes a baby Jesus…but who is the girl? Her design origin was completely secular. See more photos and this piece’s rather fascinating history in its own Archive post.
Two earlier “group” items also included the child in manger: The 1950s Pillar of Families (upper photo) and the 1981 Adoration which is generally considered to be an angels piece. It was made in plain white bisque for $325 and in color as shown for $375. The baby is affixed to the manger in both of these; in the first instance because it is a single mold piece, and in the second because it is not part of a creche set.
Adoration was retired in the mid to late 1980s, but during the 1990s Cybis took the baby/manger molds and introduced it as a stand-alone giftware piece called Baby in Cradle in a choice of either pink or blue for $95. Obviously this was no longer a Jesus piece.
Another young Jesus figure is mentioned in Cybis literature but without any photos. One is titled Christ Child ‘Joy of Angels’ with base, made during the 1950s, 10.5″ high, and available in “bisque/glazed white” which sounds like all white with glazed highlights. Pricing then was $22.50. Was this a creche piece or was it perhaps the same mold as the gold-skinned Jesus Most Obedient but on a shorter base? The name suggests that it may even have been a design similar to Adoration (or rather, vice versa.)
Four iterations of the Holy Child/Infant of Prague were produced by Cybis. The first three debuted during the 1950s; the fourth was a downsized “Hall of Fame” 1990s replica of the elaborate 1957 piece shown in the top photo. Additional photos and information can be found in the Holy Child of Prague post.
Some of the Cybis crucifixes were entirely made of porcelain while others were a combination of a porcelain figure upon a wood cross. All date from the 1950s.
Crucifix ‘Redeemer of the World’ is 16″ high and 9″ wide. Made from the 1950s until 1965 and offered in both white and color, its price ranged from $10 to $15.
In this unusual Redeemer of the World, Jesus has green hair! At first I assumed that it was a paint-firing mishap, but then a collector friend of mine discovered this same color on a different Cybis crucifix…so, read on….Instead of being signed Cybis in paint on the body, this one has a 1950s Cybis stamp on the back of the halo – which is the only part of this item flat enough for the stamp to have fit. The original red paint has faded to almost pink.
Crucifix ‘Corpus Christi’, from the early 1950s, is 12.25″ high x 6.5” wide. It is all porcelain: a white bisque figure on a glazed white cross. It was retired before 1963. Note the unusually large holes for secure mounting to a wall.
This unusual design is the Crucifix (Rouault style); the body is stained-glass porcelain and the cross is wood. It is 13.5″ high x7.5″ wide and was retired before 1963. It’s not known whether this was an outside company’s mold or not. The title refers to the design being based on the 1937 Expressionist painting ‘The Crucifixion’ by Georges Rouault. The strange green hair appears on this Cybis piece also! None of the original Rouault crucifixion paintings have green hair; it is typically black, although at least two head portraits have red hair. Were the green-haired Cybis pieces intentional (why??) or are they the result of a bad batch of brown paint, or a firing mishap? We can only surmise, until more examples of both crucifixes come to light.
This large Crucifix is 20.5″ high and 14.5″ wide, and is signed Cybis on the side of his loincloth. One wonders why only the head was painted! This piece was assigned design #2144 and and appears on a 1963 price list under “Objects d’Art” rather than under “Religious … perhaps because of the much larger size? It was priced at $75 for white bisque, and $90 for color. It was retired in 1965.
The same body mold was placed on this unusual modernistic wood cross shape. Unfortunately this was the only available photo, taken from an unfortunate angle. The auction listing cited this as being 16″ high and 14″ wide, which does not match anything in Cybis literature that I currently have. Perhaps it was a test piece.
Speaking of sizes, this collection illustrates the comparative sizes of the four crucifixes illustrated above.
This very unusual crucifix does not appear (as far as we know) in any Cybis list but is definitely theirs. It is a crucifix upon which is shown a crucifixion scene, so the logical thing to name is Crucifix ‘The Crucifixion’ although it is possible that it may have been called Crucifix ‘Sorrowful Family’. Unless I happen to find it on an old price list, we’ll probably never know. The T-shaped plaque measures 5” high and 4.25” wide; the crucifix overall is 12” x 8”.
One other 1950s crucifix is mentioned but not illustrated in Cybis literature: a Crucifix, 12″ high x 8.5″ wide, in color for $37.50; it was discontinued in the early 1960s.
Wall Plaques and Holy Water Fonts
One of the earliest Jesus plaques may have been the Mosaic Head of Christ. It was created with porcelain ‘chips’ joined with lead solder and was produced by Marja Cybis in 1945. It may be one of a kind. It is listed in Cybis in Retrospect as being circa 1946 but it’s not known whether the provided size of 14.5” cited there represents a diameter or a square shape. (The same publication also lists a Mosaic Head of Virgin Mary of identical size and so they were clearly made as a pair.) The example shown above is 19.5” square framed, with the portrait plaque measuring 11.5” diameter The 2011 seller mentioned that the plaque is attached to the frame by means of clips, suggesting that it might have been removeable. It’s not known how many (if more than one each) of these were actually made, or whether any were intended for retail production. The discrepancy in dimensions could also indicate that there was a 14.5″ square version as well as this 11.5″ circular one.
This pair of Jesus and Mary wall busts from the 1950s each measure 4.25” x 4.75” and are stamped Cybis Fine China in blue on the reverse of both. It is highly likely that Cybis may have sold them under the names of “Sacred Heart” and “Immaculate Heart” although this is unconfirmed.
Here is the same small Crucifixion scene plaque that was affixed to the wood crucifix shown above, but this time on its own, in gold-trimmed glazed white and with a rose accent. This piece is in the Cybis collection at the New Jersey State Museum, whom I thank for sharing this photo. I’m not sure whether the surface color is actual glaze or is the result of aging. It is too yellow to be their ‘Cypia’ finish.
The 1978-79 catalog Appendix lists a 1950s Crucifix Plaque, 10″ high x 7″ wide, selling for $35 but there is no photo provided. Was it a 10″x7″ rectangular mold containing a relief crucifix on the surface? Or is it simply a larger version of the crucifixion-scene plaque that was used for the holy water font and wood crucifix?
A framed Holy Child of Prague Plaque was issued as a limited edition of 25 in 1980 for $4500; more information and views are also in the Holy Child post. A freeform shaped Holy Family Plate appeared in 1989 and can be seen in Plates and Plaques.
Archive posts showing the other Cybis sculptures in this genre are the Early Madonnas, Later Madonnas, Old Testament Characters, 1950s nativity set, 1980s nativity set, Holy Child of Prague, Pope John Paul II, and other Religious subjects such as saints, home décor items, and at least one nun.
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The Cybis Archive is a continually-updated website that provides the most comprehensive range of information about Cybis within a single source. It is not and never has been part of the Cybis Porcelain studio, which is no longer in business.