This wonderful set of nine Chinese opera dolls are beautifully made, each having a papier mache head, painted complexions, expressive facial features, painted hair or cap with applied decoration, wooden block torso, and loosely jointed limbs with elongated fingers. These probably date to the early 20th century and the figures depict particular characters from Chinese traditional operas. Each are made with exceptionally detailed silk costumes with embroidered flowers, trim, and symbols, along with some elaborate headdresses. The dolls and the plays they were in were an important educational tool in Chinese culture, just as puppets and dolls were important to the Europeans and other cultures, many of which were not literate. Each doll measures approximately 10” h - 11/3/4” h, depending on their headpieces. They are all in excellent condition, with minor imperfections, spots of paint loss, and expected wear from age and use. The fingers appear to all be intact.
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