A doll is a model
typically of a human
character, often used as a toy
for little girls. Dolls have also been used in traditional religious rituals throughout the world. Traditional dolls made of materials such as clay and wood are found in the Americas, Asia, Africa and Europe. The earliest documented dolls go back to the ancient civilizations of Egypt
, and Rome
. They have been made as crude, rudimentary playthings as well as elaborate art
. Modern doll manufacturing has its roots in Germany, from the 15th century. With industrialization
and new materials such as porcelain
, dolls were increasingly mass-produced. During the 20th century, dolls became increasingly popular as collectible
History, types and materials
Early history and traditional dolls
The earliest dolls were made from available materials such as clay
, stone, wood
, or wax
evidence places dolls as the foremost candidate for the oldest known toy
. Wooden paddle doll
s have been found in Egyptian
tombs dating to as early as the 21st century BC.
Dolls with movable limbs and removable clothing date back to at least 200 BC. Archaeologists have discovered Greek dolls made of clay and articulated at the hips and shoulders.
Rag dolls and stuffed animals were probably also popular, but no known examples of these have survived to the present day.
Stories from ancient Greece around 100 AD show that dolls were used by little girls as playthings.
In ancient Rome
, dolls were made of clay, wood or ivory. Dolls have been found in the graves of Roman children. Like children today, the younger members of Roman civilization would have dressed their dolls according to the latest fashions. In Greece and Rome, it was customary for boys to dedicate their toys to the gods when they reached puberty and for girls to dedicate their toys to the goddesses when they married.
s are traditionally home-made from spare scraps of cloth
material. Roman rag dolls have been found dating back to 300 BC.
Traditional dolls are sometimes used as children's playthings, but they may also have spiritual, magical and ritual value. There is no defined line between spiritual dolls and toys. In some cultures dolls that had been used in rituals were given to children. They were also used in children's education and as carriers of cultural heritage. In other cultures dolls were considered too laden with magical powers to allow children to play with them.
are used to teach and entertain; they are supernatural intermediaries, and they are manipulated for ritual purposes. Their shape and costume vary according to region and custom. Dolls are frequently handed down from mother to daughter. ''Akuaba
'' are wooden ritual fertility
dolls from Ghana
and nearby areas. The best known ''akuaba'' are those of the Ashanti people
, whose ''akuaba'' have large, disc-like heads. Other tribes in the region have their own distinctive style of ''akuaba''.
There is a rich history of Japanese dolls
dating back to the Dogū
figures (8000–200 BCE). and Haniwa
funerary figures (300–600 AD). By the eleventh century, dolls were used as playthings as well as for protection and in religious ceremonies. During Hinamatsuri
, the doll festival, hina dolls are displayed. These are made of straw and wood, painted, and dressed in elaborate, many-layered textiles. Daruma doll
s are spherical dolls with red bodies and white faces without pupils. They represent Bodhidharma
, the East Indian who founded Zen
, and are used as good luck charms. Wooden Kokeshi
dolls have no arms or legs, but a large head and cylindrical body, representing little girls.
The use of an effigy
to perform a spell on someone is documented in African, Native American, and European cultures. Examples of such magical devices include the European poppet
and the ''nkisi
'' or ''bocio'' of West and Central Africa. In European folk magic
, poppet dolls are used to represent a person for casting spells on that person. The intention is that whatever actions are performed upon the effigy will be transferred to the subject through sympathetic magic
. The practice of sticking pins in ''voodoo doll
s'' have been associated with African-American Hoodoo
folk magic. Voodoo dolls are not a feature of Haitian Vodou
religion, but have been portrayed as such in popular culture, and stereotypical voodoo dolls are sold to tourists in Haiti. Likely the voodoo doll concept in popular culture is influenced by the European poppet. A kitchen witch
is a poppet originating in Northern Europe. It resembles a stereotypical witch
and is displayed in residential kitchens as a means to provide good luck and ward off bad spirits.
Hopi Kachina dolls
are effigies made of cottonwood that embody the characteristics of the ceremonial Kachina
, the masked spirits of the Hopi
Native American tribe. Kachina dolls are objects meant to be treasured and studied in order to learn the characteristics of each Kachina. Inuit doll
s are made out of soapstone
, materials common to the Inuit
people. Many are clothed with animal fur
or skin. Their clothing articulates the traditional style of dress necessary to survive cold winters, wind, and snow. The tea dolls of the Innu people
were filled with tea for young girls to carry on long journeys. Apple doll
s are traditional North American dolls with a head made from dried apples. In Inca mythology
, Sara Mama
was the goddess of grain
. She was associated with maize
that grew in multiples or was similarly strange. These strange plants were sometimes dressed as dolls of Sara Mama. Corn husk doll
s are traditional Native American
dolls made out of the dried leaves or husk
of a corncob
. Traditionally, they do not have a face. The making of corn husk dolls was adopted by early European settlers in the United States.
Early settlers also made rag dolls and carved wooden dolls, called ''Pennywoods''. La última muñeca
, or "the last doll", is a tradition of the ''Quinceañera
'', the celebration of a girl's fifteenth birthday in parts of Latin America
. During this ritual the ''quinceañera'' relinquishes a doll from her childhood to signify that she is no longer in need of such a toy. In the United States, dollmaking became an industry in the 1860s, after the Civil War.
s are traditional Russian dolls, consisting of a set of hollow wooden figures that open up and nest inside each other. They typically portray traditional peasants and the first set was carved and painted in 1890. In Germany, clay dolls have been documented as far back as the 13th century, and wooden doll making from the 15th century. Beginning about the 15th century, increasingly elaborate dolls were made for Nativity scene
displays, chiefly in Italy. Dolls with detailed, fashionable clothes were sold in France in the 16th century, though their bodies were often crudely constructed. The German and Dutch peg wooden doll
s were cheap and simply made and were popular toys for poorer children in Europe from the 16th century. Wood continued to be the dominant material for dolls in Europe until the 19th century.
Through the 18th and 19th centuries, wood was increasingly combined with other materials, such as leather, wax and porcelain and the bodies made more articulate.
It is unknown when dolls' glass eyes first appeared, but brown was the dominant eye color for dolls up until the Victorian era
when blue eyes became more popular, inspired by Queen Victoria
. Dolls, puppets
allow ordinary people to state what is impossible in the real situation; In Iran for example during Qajar era
, people criticised the politics and social conditions of Ahmad-Shah's reign via puppetry without any fear of punishment. According to the Islamic rules, the act of dancing in public especially for women, is a taboo. But dolls or puppets have free and independent identities and are able to do what is not feasible for the real person. Layli (Lurish doll)
is a hinged dancing doll, which is popular among the Lur people
. The name Layli is originated from the Middle East
folklore and love story, Layla and Majnun
. Layli is the symbol of the beloved who is spiritually beautiful. Layli also represents and maintains a cultural tradition, which is gradually vanishing in urban life.
During the 19th century, dolls' heads were often made of porcelain
and combined with a body of leather, cloth, wood, or composite material
s, such as papier-mâché
, a mix of pulp, sawdust, glue and similar materials.
With the advent of polymer
materials in the 20th century, doll making largely shifted to these materials. The low cost, ease of manufacture, and durability of plastic materials meant new types of dolls could be mass-produced at a lower price. The earliest materials were rubber
. From the mid-20th century, soft vinyl
became the dominant material, in particular for children's dolls.
Beginning in the 20th century, both porcelain and plastic dolls are made directly for the adult collectors market. Synthetic resin
s such as polyurethane
resemble porcelain in texture and are used for collectible dolls.
Colloquially the terms ''porcelain doll'', ''bisque doll'' and ''china doll'' are sometimes used interchangeably. But collectors make a distinction between china doll
s, made of glazed porcelain
, and bisque doll
s, made of unglazed bisque or biscuit porcelain
. A typical antique china doll has a white glazed porcelain head with painted molded hair and a body made of cloth
. The name comes from ''china'' being used to refer to the material porcelain. They were mass-produced
, peaking in popularity between 1840 and 1890 and selling in the millions.
s were also made in Germany, from around 1860 to 1880. They are made of white porcelain similar to china dolls but the head is not dipped in glaze
and has a matte finish. Bisque doll
s are characterized by their realistic, skin-like matte
finish. They had their peak of popularity between 1860 and 1900 with French and German dolls. Antique German and French bisque dolls from the 19th century were often made as children's playthings, but contemporary bisque dolls are predominantly made directly for the collectors market.
Up through the middle of the 19th century, European dolls were predominantly made to represent grown-ups. Childlike dolls and the later ubiquitous baby doll did not appear until around 1850.
But, by the late 19th century, baby and childlike dolls had overtaken the market.
Realistic, lifelike wax
dolls were popular in Victorian England
are cut out of paper, with separate clothes that are usually held onto the dolls by folding tabs. They often reflect contemporary styles, and 19th century ballerina
paper dolls were among the earliest celebrity doll
s. The 1930s Shirley Temple
doll sold millions and was one of the most successful celebrity dolls. Small celluloid Kewpie doll
s, based on illustrations by Rose O'Neill
, were popular in the early 20th century. Madame Alexander
created the first collectible doll based on a licensed character – Scarlett O'Hara
from ''Gone with the Wind
s have their roots in European ''baby house'' display cases from the 17th century. Early dollhouses were all handmade, but, following the Industrial Revolution
and World War II
, they were increasingly mass-produced and became more affordable. Children's dollhouses during the 20th century have been made of tin litho
, plastic, and wood. Contemporary houses for adult collectors are typically made of wood.
The earliest modern stuffed toy
s were made in 1880. They differ from earlier rag doll
s in that they are made of plush furlike fabric and commonly portray animals rather than humans.
s first appeared in 1902–1903.
s have been designed to resemble dark-skinned persons varying from stereotypical to more accurate portrayals. Rag doll
s made by American slave
s served as playthings for slave children. Golliwogg
was a children's book rag doll character in the late 19th century that was widely reproduced as a toy. The doll has very black skin, eyes rimmed in white, clown lips, and frizzy hair, and has been described as an anti-black caricature
Early mass-produced black dolls were typically dark versions of their white counterparts. The earliest American black dolls with realistic African facial features were made in the 1960s.
s are primarily designed to be dressed to reflect fashion
trends and are usually modeled after teen girls or adult women. The earliest fashion dolls were French bisque doll
s from the mid-19th century. Contemporary fashion dolls are typically made of vinyl
, from the American toy company Mattel
, dominated the market from her inception in 1959.
was the first doll to challenge Barbie's dominance, reaching forty percent of the market in 2006.
Plastic action figure
s, often representing superhero
es, are particularly popular among boys. Fashion dolls and action figures are often part of a media franchise
that may include films, TV, video games and other related merchandise. Bobblehead
dolls are collectible plastic dolls with heads connected to the body by a spring or hook in such a way that the head bobbles. They often portray baseball players or other athletes.
With the introduction of computers and the Internet, virtual and online dolls appeared. These are often similar to traditional paper doll
s and enable users to design virtual dolls and drag and drop
clothes onto dolls or images of actual people to play dress up. These include KiSS
Also with the advent of the Internet, collectible dolls are customized and sold or displayed online. Reborn doll
s are vinyl dolls that have been customized to resemble a human baby with as much realism
as possible. They are often sold online through sites such as eBay
[Montcombroux, Vieve. "Simply Irresistible: What is that elusive quality that makes reborns so hard to resist?". ''Doll Reader Magazine''. June–July 2008. Retrieved 17 July 2009]
Asian ball-jointed doll
s (BJDs) are cast
in synthetic resin
in a style that has been described as both realistic and influenced by anime
Asian BJDs and Asian fashion doll
s such as Pullip
are often customized and photographed. The photos are shared in online communities. Custom dolls can now be designed on computers and tablets and then manufactured individually using 3D printing.
Stargazer Lottie Doll
was the first doll to enter space, voyaging alongside British ESA
Astronaut Tim Peake
. Lottie spent 264 days aboard the International Space Station
during the Principa Mission. She was designed by 6-year-old Abigail from Canada, when she decided she wanted to help kids become more interested in space and astronomy.
Uses, appearances and issues
Since ancient times, dolls have played a central role in magic and religious rituals and have been used as representations of deities. Dolls have also traditionally been toys for children. Dolls are also collected by adults, for their nostalgic value, beauty, historical importance or financial value.
[Hirschfeld, Ariel (8 June 2009]
It's a Doll's Life
Antique dolls originally made as children's playthings have become collector's items. Nineteenth-century bisque doll
s made by French manufacturers such as Bru and Jumeau
may be worth almost $22,000 today.
[Carvajal, Doreen (7 January 2008]
Henri Launay, French doctor to dolls
''International Herlad Tribune''
Dolls have traditionally been made as crude, rudimentary playthings as well as with elaborate, artful design. They have been created as folk art
in cultures around the globe, and, in the 20th century, art doll
s began to be seen as high art
. Artist Hans Bellmer
dolls that had interchangeable limbs in 1930s and 1940s Germany
as opposition to the Nazi
party's idolization of a perfect Aryan body.
artist Greer Lankton
became famous in the 1980s for her theatrical window displays of drug addicted, anorexic and mutant dolls.
Lifelike or anatomically correct doll
s are used by health professionals, medical schools and social workers to train doctors and nurses in various health procedures or investigate cases of all sexual abuse of children. Artists sometimes use jointed wooden mannequins in drawing the human figure. Many ordinary doll brands are also anatomically correct, although most types of dolls are degenitalized.
are a type of doll that originated in Switzerland in 1964 for telling Bible stories
In Western society, a gender difference in the selection of toys has been observed and studied. Action figure
s that represent traditional masculine traits are popular with boys, who are more likely to choose toys that have some link to tool
s and military equipment
. Dolls for girls
tend to represent feminine traits and come with such accessories as clothing
, kitchen appliances, utensils
is a fear of dolls or similar objects. Psychologist Ernst Jentsch
theorized that uncanny
feelings arise when there is an intellectual uncertainty about whether an object is alive or not. Sigmund Freud
further developed on these theories.
Japanese roboticist Masahiro Mori
expanded on these theories to develop the uncanny valley
hypothesis: if an object is obviously enough non-human, its human characteristics will stand out and be endearing; however, if that object reaches a certain threshold of human-like appearance, its non-human characteristics will stand out, and be disturbing.
A doll hospital is a workshop that specializes in the restoration
or repair of dolls.
[Dolling out treatment](_blank)
Theage.com.au (10 June 2005). Retrieved on 2019-01-28.
Doll hospitals can be found in countries around the world.
[Khalip, Andrei and Pereira, Miguel (23 December 2009]
Lisbon doll hospital treats owners' blues too
One of the oldest doll hospitals was established in Lisbon
, Portugal in 1830,
[ and another in Melbourne, reputedly the first such establishment in Australia, was founded in 1888.] [ There is a Doll Doctors Association in the United States.] [Doll Doctor's Association](_blank) Henri Launay, who has been repairing dolls at his shop in northeast Paris for 43 years, says he has restored over 30,000 dolls in the course of his career. Most of the clients are not children, but adults in their 50s and 60s.
Dolldoctorsassociation.com. Retrieved on 28 January 2019.
Some doll brands, such as American Girl and Madame Alexander, also offer doll hospital services for their own dolls.
Dolls and children's tales
Many books deal with dolls tales, including ''Wilhelmina. The Adventures of a Dutch Doll'', by Nora Pitt-Taylor, pictured by Gladys Hall. Rag dolls have featured in a number of children's stories, such as the 19th century character Golliwogg in ''The Adventures of Two Dutch Dolls and a Golliwogg'' by Bertha Upton and Florence K. Upton
and Raggedy Ann in the books by Johnny Gruelle, first published in 1918. ''The Lonely Doll'' is a 1957 children's book by Canadian author Dare Wright. The story, told through text and photographs, is about a doll named Edith and two teddy bears.
File:Porcelain doll pink.jpg
File:Gene Doll in Blue Lace Gown.jpg
File:Muddy-Puddles-Lottie-doll-1 a19ab7de-7b76-44c8-92fd-11fa313a5239 1024x1024.jpg
at the V&A Museum of Childhood
The Canadian Museum of Civilization – The Story of Dolls in Canada