Monday, June 4, 2012
I would like to welcome my new follower, and to thank all my followers for reading my blog, and for putting up with my typing challenges, do to early onset osteoartritis. I have been working on new doll writing projects, and also thinking of new paper doll projects and minature projects I would like to create. Peter Carey and others are writing about automatons and other dolls; the fascination seems to be growing. As always, I welcome comments and suggestions for blogs. Briefly, in our loosely chronological history, I would like to discuss edible dolls. Dough figures can be traced as far as ancient Egypt, when they represented Osiris and were used in his religious rituals. Joseph Campbell tends to allude to them in The Masks of God. Maria Argyriades discusses them, and says that dough figures are still made in Greece today, remnants of ancient fertility rights practiced eons ago. Dolls made of dough have long been made in Europe, sometimes as parts of various celebrations, sometimes as toys, sometimes as objects to ensure fertility. Related to these are cornhusk dolls and corn dollies created to represent the harvest. These were often kept in the home for one year, then burned at the end of the year while a new one was made. Large straw men appear at Midsommer festivals in Sweden and in Swedis communities like Bishop Hill, and straw men of gigantic proportions were connected with human sacrifice practiced by the Celts. Gingerbread figures are ancient dolls and doll figures originally made as part of Lenten services, but migrating to te Christmas Holidays, where they have become icons of culture; everyone knows The Gingerbread Man and his rhymes. Gingerbread houses and villages are important parts of the HOliday Season, and are made for other occasions, too. Bread dough figures in miniature are made in Mexico, China, and Peru. These are often greatly detailed and placed under miniature glass domes. Dough ornaments and figures became popular during the 1970s. The author has many varieties in her collection. In The Doll, Carlo Fox sows a three-breasted fertility goddess baked fresh for his collection, and Mary Hillier talks about and shows a figure of Ruprecht, very old, made in part of cake, as part of a St. Nicolas celebration. There are candy figures of all types, and candy Kewpie dolls and black licorice animals. The Vermont Candy company makes Santas and figures out of maple sugar, and these include Pennsylvania Dutch-style couples. Sugar eggs and dioramas abound, as do the famous sugar skulls and figures long made for El Dia de Muertos or Day of the Dead. Dolls are made of egg shells, lobster claws, mandraek root and other carved root, dried prunes, apples, and pears, nuts and corncobs. Miss Hickory is a nut head doll made famious in the book by the same name by Carolyn Sherwin Bailey, and Laura Ingalls Wilder's first doll is made from a corncob. There is a devil doll made from a dried fish, and other dolls made from fis and animal bones. Marzipan is used to make dolls, figures, and toys, and "clear toys" are figures made of clear, liquid sugar. Tasha Tudor discusses these in her Christmas book, Take Joy. Also, I have angels made of macaroni, and the Ripley museum in Wisconsin Dells Displays a witch at the stake made entirely of spaghetti. A local sushi restaurant creates intricate sculptures of Japanese figures from radish. Also, let's not forget ice sculptures and butter figures, and of course, various chocolate figures including Kewpies and rabbits, made for every holiday. Godiva figures preserved often bring $15.00 or more. There are Golliwog cookies and licorice babies, and elaborate cookie figures from The Slovak Republic. I have made many miniatures and dough dolls from a salt dough clay that involves mixing equal parts of salt, flour, and water. Bernard Ravca began making dolls of bread crumbs, and claimed only a good French baguette would do. There are also 18th C. Pedlar dolls in Hillier's book made of crumbs. Snowmen are made from marshmallows, and figures are carved from vegetables. There are ice cream cone clowns, and pancake and pizza faces, all made to tempt little palates into eating. Seeds, edible grasses, and flowers, lobster and crab claws, everything edible or related to food as been used to make dolls over the years. There are many legends of beings being molded and "BAKED" into life, and an episode of "Sabrina" with Melissa Joan Hart featured one of these, and awakened old legends and rituals associated with dough figures. There is even a creaton myth that involves the gods baking people at various temperatures to create the various races of man. Here are some photos to enjoy. Next time anyone bakes, think of the edible dolls, and try to create some.