Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Dolls from Around the World - Japan Pre WWII

Prior to World War II the following types of bisque and celluloid babies and Topsy-type black dolls were manufactured in Japan, sold there and/or exported to the US. 

The Dolly Sisters from the 1930s are celluloid quintuplets. They have their own cardboard carrying case/box which has a handle on top.  "Japan" is on the front of their colorful box and their backs are marked, "Japan."  The sisters are jointed, stand 2 inches, and wear glued-on satin suspender skirts, each a different color.  Molded-on white socks and red shoes complete their outfits.  (No panties!)


L-R: Bisque bunting baby; celluloid bunting baby twins, circa 1930s.   They measure 3-1/2 and 5-inches, respectively.  The back of their cardboard packing is marked "Japan." 


L-R Unusual, 3-1/2-inch wooden smoking doll; 2-inch celluloid baby, and 1-1/2-inch bisque Topsy-type baby.  The smoking doll, marked "Made in Japan," was probably made after WWII. Included with it are 10 packs of "Poffy Magic Cigarettes." The cigarettes were made in Western Germany.


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These dolls serve as reminders of how black people were perceived during this time through the eyes of those with little to no connection to the culture. 

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1 comment:

  1. Hmmm ... interesting. These dolls remind me of images of black dolls as depicted by American (U.S.) doll makers. The whites of the eye show around the entire pupil of the eye - to express exaggerated surprise, I imagine. I wonder if these dolls were intended for the U.S. market or if they were intended for the Japanese market.

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