Posted in Dolls

by Ruby Lane

1.    The oldest dolls known are Venus or Goddess figures that date back 40,000+ years. Once thought to be solely ritual figures, these faceless idols may have been intended originally as objects for children, according to some archaeologists. A similar figure was found in North American in 1889 called the Nampa Figurine.  It is controversial, in that it is either very, very old, possibly older than the Venus figures, or it is a skillfully done fake.

Venus of Hohlefels, the earliest Venus figurine via Wikipedia

Venus of Hohlefels, the earliest Venus figurine via Wikipedia

2.    The smallest dolls in the world may be dressed, preserved fleas, once made in Mexico and sold by Kimport dolls.  Other micro mini dolls sit on the head of a pin, or are painted grains of rice.  Some really tiny figures are carved from a human hair!

Dressed fleas made in Mexico in 1905, via 
The Natural History Museum
Cromwell Road
London SW7 5BD

Dressed fleas made in Mexico in 1905, via
The Natural History Museum
Cromwell Road
London SW7 5BD

3.    The largest dolls in the world may be the doll “motif” inflatable balloons in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, or “doll” statue-buildings like a Buddha statue in China or the Statue of Liberty.  Artist Jeff Koons creates gigantic balloon animals, Pinocchio, and other characters based on dolls and toys. Classic doll makers like F.G., Kruse, and even Bru have made 5’ mannikins of their dolls.

Käthe-Kruse window mannequin dolls via Public Domain

Käthe-Kruse window mannequin dolls via Public Domain

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32″ Bru Jne 14 Bebe Mannequin Boy Articulated Fingers Original Costume on Ruby Lane

4.    Dolls have often used to smuggle both needed money and medical supplies, as in The Civil War, explosives, and even contraband like drugs. Dolls work on the other side of the law as vehicles to help abused children express themselves, in dioramas to solve crimes, as the subjects of patent lawsuits.

The Civil War Secrets of a Drug Smuggling Doll via History Detectives. (Click to watch video!)

The Civil War Secrets of a Drug Smuggling Doll via History Detectives. (Click to watch video!)

5.    Abraham Lincoln’s children had a Sanitary Fair Doll called Jack the Doll, dressed as a Zouave soldier.  They frequently tried and executed Jack, then buried him in The White House Rose garden, until the gardener could stand no more.  President Lincoln then issued Jack a presidential pardon. Read more on Mental Floss.

Abraham Lincoln with his son Thomas,

Abraham Lincoln with his son Thomas, “Tad” Lincoln in 1865 via Public Domain

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