Absolutely exceptional South African beaded doll from the mid century and was made for the South African Red Cross Society at Durban South Africa. It still has a paper tag on it depicting the S.A Red Cross Society. On the back of the tag is handwritten 'name of doll-"Ntombenhle"-pretty girl'. I have seen a couple of these dolls that resemble this one, but none this large or this elaborately beaded. This one is so exceptional and the condition is excellent for it's age. These beaded dolls were used for many purposes in African society. They played roles in fertility and healing ceremonies, courtship customs and also used as lucky tokens to have babies, then they would be destroyed and make a doll for the child. Traditionally, these dolls were not made to be sold and this one is quite rare for that fact.
This doll is in exceptional condition. She is made of brown wool fabric with beading literally almost everywhere and to boot, carries her baby in her backpack and the baby even has lots of beading. She stands 17 1/2" tall from feet to the top of her elaborate head-dress. The beading is so intricately detailed and I have not seen any damage or loose beading. The only damage or possible damage that I see are a few small spots on the baby's red backpack and on her right hand that could be small moth holes, very exceptional for it's age. The skirt is a double layer of fabric, brown underneath and black on top, then covered with a fantastic beaded pattern. This lovely South African doll would be a rare delight to add to a collection. Any information that you would like to contribute would be greatly appreciated.
Item ID: RL298
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