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 namestamped.
A trio of these Jesus busts from the 1950s exhibits a slight difference in size and decoration in one of the three, with the center bust being slightly sllimmer, having a different neckline decoration and smaller floral accent. My guess is that while Holland and Atlantic Molds were both selling this design, there was that slight difference between them. The Cybis studio undoubtedly bought this mold from both companies but which “size” mold came from which company, is not known.
All three busts were produced by Cybis, even though they are marked differently. From left to right: unmarked Cybis; blue Cybis stamp; brown Cybis Fine China stamp plus a leftover design number (2064) in pencil.
Here is another anonymous Jesus bust (anonymous as to what Cybis may have called it, that is). Unfortunately the description did not give a height, nor was there anything in the photo to suggest scale. It was cited as being signed Cybis.
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. 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 (possibly an extremely dark green) even though the bust itself is pure white. The ‘companion Mary piece’ was Mater Dolorosa.
This without-base version would be considered by collectors to be in the studio’s Cypia coloration.
Sun of Justice is 17″ high and was produced only during the 1950s. The height citation is what is given in the 1979 Cybis catalog, and invites confusion because the photo above (from that same catalog) shows it adjacent to its companion madonna bust Mirror of Justice and the photo caption gives the same 17″ height for both. Both are wearing the same intricately carved wood halo but the Jesus bust is pictured on a wood base while the Mary bust is not. Complicating the matter is that during the 1950s Cybis was not consistent in whether a specific figure was produced with or without a halo! So I have no idea whether the cited 17″ height means “without halo and without base”, “with halo but without base”, or “including halo and base.”
This bisque, Cypia-tone version has neither halo nor base but does have the impressed ‘eagle’ mark on the back — which, most surprisingly, is flat! (See the early madonnas post for the companion Mary bust called Mirror of Justice.)
A known but as yet unpictured 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.
This full-length Sacred Heart figure was made both with and without a halo, and in both plain white bisque and color. Sold from the 1950s until retirement in 1964, the white version was $20 and the color $25. The no-halo figure is 10.5″ tall, although the 1979 Cybis catalog (which shows it with a halo) says 12″ (in reality, more like 11.75″). So the halo added at least an inch to that dimension. Notice the difference in coloration between the halo and non-halo examples, although I have no idea whether that was consistent. The halo example also lacks the flower decoration on the base.
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. Offered by a Cybis retailer during the early 1970s along with a number of other 1950s Cybis religious pieces, it was described as being about 3.5″ square but no height was given. A fair guess might be between five and six inches. The finish was also described as being the richly colored and highly glazed “stained glass.” It’s not known if the baby was removeable (see below.)
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.
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.)
Three iterations of the Holy Child of Prague were also made by Cybis and can be seen in their own separate post. The first two date from the mid 1950s and although the larger one was a Cybis original, I am not certain about Minature Infant of Prague model on plinth. A downsized and less well done replica of the original was issued in the 1990s as a “Hall of Fame” version. See the Holy Child of Prague post for full details and photos of all of these.
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, the price ranged from $10 to $15. From this photo the cross appears to be wood. Cybis often “interchanged halos” and so this exact one was probably not used on every single example of this crucifix.
Crucifix ‘Corpus Christi’, from the early 1950s, is about 13″ high x 7” wide. It is all porcelain: a white bisque figure on a glazed white cross. It was retired before 1963.
This unusual design is the Crucifix (Roualt style); the body is stained-glass porcelain and the cross is wood. It is 13.5″ high x 7.5″ 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 Roualt.
Here is an unusual crucifix on wooden cross that is as yet unidentified by name. Unfortunately this was the only available photo, taken from an unfortunate angle. It’s difficult to tell whether the tonal shadings on the white bisque body were part of the production, are darkened/discolored glue used for attachment, or are simply accumulated grime not removed. The auction listing cited this as being 16″ high and 14″ wide.
Two other 1950s crucifixes are mentioned but not illustrated in Cybis literature. One is a Crucifix, 12″ high x 8.5″ wide, in color for $37.50; it was discontinued in the early 1960s. The other is a large Crucifix, 20.5″ high x 14.5″ wide. This crucifix was design #2144 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.
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.
Listed in the 1978 Cybis catalog Appendix but not pictured in the book is a Lamb of God Plaque with identical dimensions to the circular Holy Ghost Plaque shown in the Religious post, being 8.5” in diameter. It likely sold for the same prices, i.e., $25 for plain white bisque and $40 for glazed color
The same Appendix also lists a 1950s Crucifix Plaque, 10″ high x 7″ wide, selling for $35 but there is no photo provided. It sounds as if this was a 10″x7″ rectangular mold containing a relief crucifix on the surface.
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.
Cybis produced two known Jesus-based holy water fonts in the 1950s and retired them in 1964. Unfortunately I do not yet have photos of either. The Holy Water Font ‘Lamb of God’ was undoubtedly the circular plaque described above with the addition of a shaped basin below, and mounted on an 11” high back piece that was either dark wood or dark painted porcelain. It sold for $15 and was of the same style as the Holy Ghost water font shown in the Religious Items post.
The other font, Holy Water Font ‘Crucifixion’, is mentioned only in their 1974 catalog text list with no other details given although it was retired before 1963. Lacking a photo we can only assume that this contains either a small crucifix or a circular bas relief plaque like the ‘Lamb’ and ‘Holy Ghost’ versions.
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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