My Museum Monday: 4

[Like most of you, I can’t visit museums at the moment, so I’m sharing objects from my own museum]

Doll bits

Bisque porcelain doll part, glazed and unglazed.

Nineteenth-century ceramic (bisque porcelain) doll parts are common finds on archaeological excavations around the (colonised) world. Originally attached to fabric bodies, which in most cases have decayed and vanished, the heads, legs and arms survive well. As so-called “evocative” objects, the usual explanation for their presence is that they were children’s playthings, but I have a suspicion that they were often valued and possessed by adults as “keepsakes”.

Fabric doll with bisque porcelain head and limbs

I am especially fond of the woebegone expressions of my complete examples, and their tousled and knotted hair.

Bisque porcelain “penny doll” with limbs attached using wire.

The doll with a bisque body may have been a little more expensive than its fabric-bodied siblings, but I use it as an example of a “penny doll”, which had movable limbs.

Author: ralphblog

I am a historical archaeologist, writer and editor. I live in Saanich, Victoria, British Columbia.

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