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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Goddesses and Venus Figures an Update

Here is a great site with history of these oldest of dolls or human figures: titled Ancient Wisdom. Here, also, is information of the oldest ceramic figure, which makes one think. Ceramics were not used for figurines in the West until the 17th c; these were decorative objects, and many theorize the head molds, at least, for these figurines, were later used for china head dolls. Yet, this is a 25,000 year old figure which is ceramic, clay, perhaps glazed. Pottery fragments and figures are found in The Americas and in the Orient long before the 17th c., but it wasn't unitl the 1840s or thereabouts, according to John Noble and others, that china/ceramics were used for china heads. There were the 13th-14th c. Nuremburg clay dolls with an imprint for a baptismal coin before then. Something to ponder, what happened between the 25,000 year old figure and the 15th, 17th, centuries?
"Extract - 'Archaeologically they are known from the earliest horizons of the Aurignacian and extend to the end of the Magdalenian. Venus figurines have been found in Britain, France, Italy, Spain, Austria, Germany, Czechoslovakia, the Ukraine, and as far east as Lake Baikal... In appearance most are plump little creatures with exaggerated female characteristics: large breasts, thighs and buttocks. Many are carved from mammoth tusks, but one of the best known is made of limestone and generally known as the Venus of Willendorf' (1)" "Dolni Věstonice: (Gravettian Site) The site is unique in that it has been a particularly abundant source of prehistoric artefacts (especially art) dating from roughly 28,000 to 24,000 B.C (4). In addition to functional tools, the artefacts found at Dolni Věstonice include carved representations of animals, men, women, personal ornaments, enigmatic engravings. The remains of two dwellings were unearthed: an oval one (15 x 9m), with five hearths, and a round one (6m in diameter) with one hearth in the centre in which clay figurines were fired. The remains of two kilns have been uncovered and more than 700 figurines-nearly all depicting Ice Age animals (1) such as lions, rhinos, and mammoths-were fired in the oval earthen kilns of Dolni Vestonice. At nearby sites of similar age, thousands more terracotta figurines and clay pellets have been excavated. Almost all the Vestonice figurines exhibit breaks and cracks-the shattering shock of the flames that baked them. One hypothesis is that these figurines had magical significance, and were intentionally fashioned from wet clay so that they would explode when fired. The clay would have been mixed either with ash from certain plants or a different equivalent The ceramic figurines and fragments recovered from Dolni Vestonice have been identified as representing the earliest known ceramic technology (Vandiver et al., 1989). The Moravian site “cluster” has yielded more than 10,000 ceramic fragments. The figurines recovered from Dolni Vestonice have been dated to 26,000 BP, while the world’s earliest known pottery vessels until this time appear 14,000 years later. (3) The early origin of ceramic technology at Dolni Vestonice suggests that the local population were familiar with their surroundings and have demonstrated an ability to manipulate and control their environment. If the ceramics were being produced simply to be shattered via thermal shock, it can be concluded that the process of making the objects was more important than the final product (4). . The Venus of Dolní Věstonice.
The Venus of Dolní Věstonice is one of the earliest examples of fired clay sculptures in the world (c. 28,000–24,000 BC (4)). It has four holes in the head, the function of which is unknown. A Tomograph scan in 2004 found a fingerprint of a child estimated at between 7 and 15 years of age (1) (More about Venus Figurines)"

Memoir; Writing your Life Story: Lincoln's Proclamation of Thanksgiving

Memoir; Writing your Life Story: Lincoln's Proclamation of Thanksgiving: Happy Thanksgiving from Dr. E and all her Blogs! Proclamation of Thanksgiving Washington, D.C. October 3, 1863 This is the proclamati...

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: To the Muses of my Blogs

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: To the Muses of my Blogs: Our beloved Anne Rice has her People of the Page, and I have my readres/viewers, my extended family which I call The Muses of my Blogs. For...

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Early 19th Century and the History of Paper Dolls, Part I

Now it is time to return to our doll chronology by turning to the early 19th c. We last discussed a baby house beloning to Ann Sharp, Queen Anne's goddaughter, and now can talk about some early 19th c. dolls.  Please forgive typos; I'm still battling early onset arthritis in my fingers and hands, and I am typing outside, but I do love the biting autumn chill, and these days won't be many for me. 

England, according to Loretta Holz in The How To Book of International Dolls, takes credit for being the first to produce "true" paper dolls in about 1790.  These were printed in sheets, ready to cut out, featuring the latest fashions, intended for adults.  Yet, our earliest records of China and Japan show paper dolls were used in religious rituals where images were hung on trees, perhaps during The Milky Way Festival, and sometimes thrown into bodies of water with prayers.  China, I think, also takes credit for inventing paper as we know it.

France had its pantins, even around the time of the French Revolution, and these were forbidden by law at one point per Mary Hillier and other authors, because there was fear expectant mothers playing with them would bear deformed children.  Up to the Industrial Revolution, paper was very expensive; scrap paper was kept, bought,and sold.  Early manuscripts by Cervantes, Wordsworth, Byron, Keats, and others show that the writers wrote all over the paper, then used the margins, then turned the paper over, etc.  The idea of paper toys must have seen absurd to people who had their porraits painted with their libraries to show they could afford expensive books, and who collected books if they were wealthy enough, to the point of obsession  One continental expert wanted a copy of every book ever printed up to that time.

In any case, these sheets of paper dolls came to the US by 1840, and with The History of Little Fanny and Henry, became children's toys.

Holtz writes that by the 1850s on, paper dolls of famous people were all the rage, and there are examples of Jenny Lind and Maria Taglioni in prized collections, like the former Mary Merrit doll museum collection.  If you have the auction catalog, you will be able to see for yourself.  I also recommned key word, Marilee's Paper Doll page on The Internet and books on paper dolls by R. Lane Herron, and my own Bibliography for sources.

Firms like Raphael Tuck, which was still producing greeting cards in the 1990s, began to create lithographed dolls, and commercial concerns like McLoughlin and Lion Coffee made historical dolls for the Columbian Exposition, especially of Queen Isabella and other historical figures.  By the 20s, there were many homemade dolls, like those Laura Ingalls Wilder talks about, and celebrity dolls like those of Mary Pickford became popular.  These were extremely popular between about 1930-1970, with Gone with the Wind Dolls [bought for a little friend who later wrote about her by Elizabeth Short, the Black Dahlia murder victim], and represented every major actress from Gene Tierney to Shirley Temple to Lucille Ball and The Partridge Family.  Many were made by an artist named Queen Holden, and others were printed by Whitman Publishing.  Three-D dolls like Barbie, Raggedy Ann, and Cheerful Tearful also had paper counterparts.  Some doll had joints, or houses, other were magnetic and had wigs.  The scouts had many varieties of paper dolls, and Lettie Lane, Dolly Dingle, and Betsy McCall began to appear in magazines. ODACA is an organization for paper doll artists, and The Paper Doll Quarterly and Paper Soldier were publications that featured them.  Many doll magazines had paper dolls, and some like Doll Castle News still feature them.

I have many, many examples in the museum, from miniatures to nearly life-sized mannikins. Some are handmade, and even done on my computer.  Virtual paper dolls exist online for doll play, and there is software for creating them.

Early 19th c. dolls were made of wax, wood, wood pulp or papier mache,and by the 1840s or so according to John Noble, china or glazed porcelain.  The so called 18th c. Nuremburg china head has turned out to be an early 20th c. Art Deco type doll, as have some rare pin cushion dolls featured in the books of Eleanor St. George.

Next time, we will talk some more about these early Georgian and 19th c. dolls and feature some pictures.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: Emma's Dolls

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: Emma's Dolls: I missed posting on Halloween/Samhain. Life has become out of control around the museum, though we did put in a proposal for a brick and mo...