Historical Dolls - Paddle Doll, Corn Husk Doll, Parian Doll, Apple Doll, African Dolls and other

African Doll

Paddle doll is a doll from Ancient Egypt. It is a flat doll, made of wood in a stylized shape of a woman with emphasized the hips and hair. It is decorated with a geometric pattern of lines and dots. One theory says that a paddle doll is a symbol of fertility and because it was found at burial sights of Egyptian Predynastic period, they symbolize rebirth. Other theory says that the role of these dolls was to be companions of the deceased in the underworld and provide protection and entertainment there. There is also a theory that paddle dolls are the first found toys in the history.

A corn husk doll is a doll made out of the dried leaves or "husk" of a corn cob. It is a Native American toy and traditionally has no face. Legend says that one of Three Sisters (personifications of three major agricultural crops of Native Americans) made a doll out of its own husks. Doll was so beautiful that it started spending less time with children and more thinking about how beautiful it is so it was punished for its vanity to not have a face.

An apple doll is a doll from North America. Its heads is made from dried apple. Apple is peeled and carved to look like a head and then left to dry for days or weeks. After it is dried, apple is fixed on a wire body of a doll and clothed in hand made clothing. Its main purpose was a toy but today, they are used as decorations or as display of skill in carving.

Peg wooden doll is a wooden toy doll from Germany and the Netherlands (they are also known as Dutch dolls). It is developed from simple dolls that were made on lathe. Dolls are made so their limbs are attached to the body with pegs and they are sold without clothes so the children can dress them in fabric as they like. Some dolls are made with conjoined jointing system so when one limb is moved other limb would move as well. Special type of peg wooden doll is “tuck comb doll”. It is called like that because it has carved comb in its hair.

A parian doll are dolls which head is created from untinted white porcelain and body made from fabric. Porcelain head is not glazed so it has matte texture. It was mainly made in Germany from 1860 to 1880 send is called parian doll because its texture looks like parian marble of Paros, Greece. One of the characteristics if this doll is molded blond hair. Parian doll is dressed in clothes and decorated with feathers, flowers, or ribbons. Eyes of the doll are painted or made of glass which makes them sought by collectors.

African dolls are handmade dolls which have different uses. Some of them are toys while other are used as fertility charms, for entertainment, for ritual purposes and as messengers between this world and the world of the spirits. One of the special kinds of the doll is a courtship doll of the Ndebele tribe in Southern Africa. When a young man wants to propose to a young woman, he leaves a doll at the doorstep of her house. At the wedding, young woman is given a doll to which she gives a name. When she has a first child, that child is given a name of the doll.