Witch dolls have existed since ancient times, where some were ritual or religious figures for various religions. The oldest human figure of all, The Venus of Willendorf and her prehistoric sisters, are still revered by some religions today. Image magic is also very old, and discussed by archaeologists, anthropologists, and early doll writers like Max von Boehn (Dolls, 1927), alike. Voodoo dolls are not witches per se, but they are related in that they are dolls used in magic and ritual. Poppets were associated with witchcraft in The British Isles and in the New World. Marion Starkey writes about them in his study of the Salem Witch Trials, The Devil in Massachusetts, and a poppet plays her own role in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible.
Dolls, especially dolls made of bone, are important to Anne Rice’s first novel about the Mayfair witches, The Witching Hour. Here are the top five witch dolls for collectors of all things doll, witch, and Halloween.
1. R. John Wright Wicked Witch: The Wicked Witch of the West has been made as a doll by many companies since the film, The Wizard of Oz made her and Glinda the Good Witch famous. R. John Wright’s rendition of the evil witch is the best around. Other characters included The Scarecrow, Tin Man, Dorothy, and Cowardly Lion. Shop a wide selection of R. John Wright on Ruby Lane.
2. Faith Wick: Doll artist Faith Wick created a witch doll in vinyl in 1981. The doll had a character face, complete with witchy warts and rooted long hair. One version wore the traditional black hat and black outfit, while the Hearth Witch” version wore a mobcap, grey shawl, apron, pantaloons, and boots.
3. Artist Made Witch Dolls: Vintage and antique artist dolls representing witches and warlocks are popular with many artists and cultures. Kitchen Witches, German Witches, India Witches, Brujas from Mexico, and vintage Halloween collectibles from Germany and Japan intrigue doll collectors of all types. Poppets and harvest figures fit the category of witch dolls. Handmade dolls representing the Salem Witches were for sale in Salem, Massachusetts in the early 70s. In fact, Laurie Cabot, the official witch of Salem, is her self a doll collector.
4. German Bisque Characters: The bisque head sometimes known as “Hex” appears as many characters. The witch is one of the favorites for doll collectors. Some examples are also key wound mechanical dolls. Dressel was involved in the toy and doll business from 1789-1942. The company often used heads from other companies, including Limbach and Simon & Halbig. The Witch and Fortune Teller version are mold 1305 by Simon and Halbig.
5. Ginny as Witch: Vogue’s 8-inch wonder has had a variety of costumes and outfits over the years. Her orange and black Halloween witch outfit is one of the most festive and charming.
Bonus: Many dolls have worn witch costumes over the years, including Kewpies and Nancy Ann Storybook dolls. The Harry Potter characters created by Tonner and so many other companies also fit the witch doll category. Toby jugs and craft doll heads delight some collectors, too. Whatever type of doll you like there is usually a version done up like a witch! In conclusion, this blogger who has the privilege of seeing Agnes Moorhead in person at age five, and who owns the official broom favored by The Salem Witches, wishes all of you “Best Witches” and Happy Halloween!!
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