Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Black Dolls from Around the World - Australia

Bindi and Piccaninny by Metti, 1970s

Most black dolls made in Australia represent indigenous Australians, the original inhabitants of this continent.  My first Native Australian dolls are the two pictured above made in the 1970s by the Metti company of Australia.  They are all vinyl and stand 13 and 10 inches, respectively (33 and 24.4 cm).  Each one has a cardboard boomerang with its name on front.  According to one Internet source, the Metti Company discontinued doll manufacture in November 1976.  The company's production manager and his wife purchased machinery from Metti and continued doll manufacture under the name Netta in December of 1976.  The Netta Australia company is still operational.


Pilawuk, an anatomically correct girl by Netta Australia, Photograph Courtesy of eBay seller, SandyChanel1

The above Native Australian doll is an example of dolls manufactured by Netta Australia.  Pilawuk is all vinyl with brown, rooted hair and brown eyes. She measures 40 cm (15.7 inches) with bent baby legs.  Netta Australia also manufactures an anatomically correct boy, Kobi, as well as other dark skinned dolls.  Click here to see Kobi and the others.


Mullyan (Yanni) is a Wendy Frank Original

Yanni is a custom-made doll by Wendy Frank. He has a painted mask face, cloth body, and red curly hair.  His overalls are made of felt as are his sneakers.  He is 15 inches tall (38.1 cm).  In one hand he holds a Maori doll that represents the indigenous people of New Zealand. A stuffed kangkaroo is held in his other hand. No two Wendy Frank dolls are exactly alike.

Karda was another manufacturer of dolls representing Native Australians. 
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10 comments:

  1. I love how the dollmaker captured the skin tones and hair coloring of the Native Australians.

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  2. I love Wendy's dolls. She's having a "Win a Wendy Frank" doll contest now through the end of May (?), I think. You'll have to visit her website and read her blog or follow the doll contest link on her website for specifics.

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  3. I was waiting to see Pauline Middleton's dolls here. She does the best aboriginal porcelain dolls you will ever see

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  4. Yes, Pauline Middleton's dolls are breathtaking. While I did not include them in this blog, three of her dolls are included in chapter 5 of my book, Black Dolls a Comprehensive Guide to Celebrating, Collecting, and Experiencing the Passion. Readers can also view images of Middleton's porcelain works of art here.

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  5. Hi, I was wondering if someone could tell me what price I should be asking if I want to sell an original Bindi doll by Matti? Aside from one of her eyes missing eyelashes and the actual eye being a bit turned, she is in great condition. Thanks, any help is appreciated!

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  6. Anonymous - try searching ebay's auction site (http://www.ebay.com) for completed "Netti Aborginal doll" auctions to determine at what price dolls like yours are selling on online auction sites. What you should be asking and what the doll will actually sell for may differ greatly. What the doll will sell for is based on its condition, size, and a potential buyer's desire for it at a given time. Best wishes to you.

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  7. I have enjoyed reading your blog, it's very informative and well set out. I'll keep coming back to read more!

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    1. Thank you for visiting Michelle and for letting me know you enjoy my blog. I hope you will return often.

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  8. I had a Bindi doll when I was a child growing up in the 1970s, my godparents from Sydney, Australia, whom I'm named after, sent it to me. I remember the boomerang and everything. Had a dream about Bindi last night, so just had to look her up! Thanks!

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    1. Hi Sydney. So glad that my Bindi was part of your search results.

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Thank you! Your comments are appreciated!