EARLY DOLLS


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Stunning man and woman pair of 14" ( 35 cm ) papier-mâché shoulder head dolls with " milliner's model "-style bodies, having firm leather torsos and upper legs, with long wooden arms with " spoon " hands and molded and painted shoes. Although superb in their own right just as dolls, their original elaborate ethnic costumes really set them apart to make them something special. One might assume by the man's head covering that they could be either Turkish or perhaps from one of the Balkan countries controlled by the Ottoman Empire during the time of the manufacture of these dolls, ( late 1840's- early 1850's ) . The man has the remains of a thin pencil line mustache, the woman a center part hairstyle with thick braids covering both ears and molded into a tight bun in back. The fine lace headgear of the woman also could denote that of a bride wearing her traditional regional dress. Perhaps the highlight of both costumes are the similar sewn on shoes with turned up toes.  Regardless of exact origin of region or country, they are truly remarkable, especially as a pair!........US$ 2.950.

 

 

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Extremely grand ( 34" , 87 cm ), rare, and early ( circa 1850's ) A. Bozzani of Holburn, London, wax-over papier-mâché "walking and talking " semi-mechanical doll.  Originally documented by English collector, dealer, and highly regarded doll researcher Mary Hillier in her iconic book " The History of Wax Dolls " ( pages 71 and 74 ), which perfectly describe this almost never found ( and fragile ) doll. It was subsequently purchased by the last owner ( about 1993)  at Christies Auction ( London ) and had remained with her until just last month. The Christies' catalogue description is as follows:" A very rare talking doll with wax-over-papier-mâché shoulder head ( slightly ) open mouth ( with tiny teeth ) , blond hair in ringlets, heavy jointed body jointed at shoulder, thigh, and knee, containing bellows ( in torso ) operated by movement of he left arm, and brass voice mechanism, the sound changed by movement to the right arm ." The structure of the arms and lower legs are similar to the head ( heavy wax over thick mâchés ). Not mentioned in the catalogue description is the fact that as the arms move forward allowing " voice activation ( "mama-papa"-type sounds) they also create the opposite leg to lunge forward just slightly creating the " walking " feature. Due to age and wear any sounds and/or movements are quite sluggish but one can easily decipher from by what one can see what would have occurred when the doll was " new and shiny ". The raising of the left arm creates greater sound and movement than raising the right ( stringing looser at shoulder allowing lesser tension needed to properly activate ), but fully understandable considering extreme age and type of object. Also as usual, there is some crazing of the wax, especially on the shoulder with a loss of wax ( mâchés still firm and present underneath ) on right back shoulder corner. This is a " TRUE ANTIQUE" doll that will be at least appreciated by all who love the very old and rare, and would be a perfect doll for any museum and/or the most experienced/advanced collector of the most eclectic dolls and related objects including crèche and " continental/religious -type figures. Reasonably priced at ...US$ 5,900 ( no more than a large closed mouth Tete Jumeau, but oh so much rarer and almost impossible to find!!!!!).

 

 

 

 

 

 

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