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Stunning Antique Chinese Male Opera Doll, 17", ca. late 1800s ~ early 1900s, wearing an incredible silk costume decorated with silk embroidery. This lovely gentleman features a finely painted papier-mâché, or composition, head with a wooden torso, articulated arms and legs, and papier-mâché hands with long, delicate fingers. The headdress is molded to the head and is decorated with colorful gold swirls. Measures: 17 inches from bottom of shoes to top of headdress. While the tip of this doll's nose has been damaged and repainted, as you can see in photos, it does not detract from its overall beauty.
Appreciated by the most sophisticated collectors, these remarkable and somewhat rare Chinese Opera Dolls are also known as Royal or Merchant dolls or puppets. Many opera dolls were sold as souvenirs to the aristocratic patrons at performances of the dramatic, colorful Chinese Opera at the height of its popularity in the Qing Dynasty. The elaborate decoration of the intricately embroidered silk costumes denotes the high status of the male and female opera characters depicted and are often trimmed with soft white fur. Made of papier-mâché or composition, the heads are removable. During opera puppet shows, this made for easy wardrobe changes and character shifts.Their exquisite faces have delicately painted features. The hair is painted and the head is often signed on back of the neck. The hair of female dolls is decorated with colorful glass beads, gold swirls, tiny wire coils and fabric pompoms. Fully jointed arms and legs can be posed numerous ways. Thin bamboo poles could be inserted into the long sleeves making puppets of these charming dolls. The tradition of Chinese puppetry originated during the Han Dynasty, and grew throughout the Tang, Song and Qing dynasties.
We will be listing many wonderful opera dolls in the future. All of these dolls are antiques or vintage and may show some discoloration, fading and minor wear. We will list any damages that can be seen. Please ask any questions you might have and we will try to answer. Both female and male dolls of all sizes will be shown.
If you are interested in layaway, we will be happy to help you with a payment plan. Free shipping is available only within the continental United States. Shipping costs elsewhere will be determined at time of purchase. Please inquire about international shipping.
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Stunning Antique Chinese Male Opera Doll, 17", ca. late 1800s ~ early 1900s
The Beautiful and the Uncommon