Monday, December 10, 2012

Nissen's United Children of Our World Muhammed

Another long sought-after doll has entered my collection as a result of a conversation I had last month with fellow doll enthusiast, Betty A.  Not only did Betty and I discuss dolls by D'Azucar Creationes, which led to my finding two of their dolls, we also discussed dolls by noted sculptor and mannequin maker John Nissen.  Nissen produced a series of dolls during the 1990s that represent children of diverse cultures.  The series was appropriately named United Children of Our World Doll Collection.

According to information provided in a past auction for one of Nissen's United Children of Our World dolls:

Although the “United Children of Our World” is John Nissen’s first doll project, he is no stranger to sculpting the human face.

In 1947 he began a long and distinguished career as a sculptor at the Royal Danish Porcelain Company, one of the finest porcelain makers in the whole of Europe.

Finding a love for the lines of the human face, in 1960 he became chief designer for Hindsgaul, the largest manufacturer in the world of window mannequins, and in 1973 he started his own mannequin company.

Today, he is one of the most sought after designers and sculptors in Europe.

The “United Children of Our World” is John Nissen’s original concept.  Each doll has been thoroughly researched and accurately represents the characteristics of the country or region portrayed.  Authentic costume designs by Else Madsen add to the beauty of these lovely creations…”

During our conversation, Betty mentioned her Nissen doll, Tala, a 27-inch doll representing a Nigerian girl.    Except for their dress and the regions of Africa they represent, Betty's Tala is identical to my first Nissen doll, Fatou.  Fatou depicts a girl from Gambia and arrived in time for me to document her in my 2008 publication, Black Dolls:  A Comprehensive Guide...

Until my most recent conversation with Betty, my saved eBay searches had included "john nissen doll" in order to be notified of new Nissen-doll listings.  As a result of this saved search, I was able to add a 14-inch Nissen boy to my collection, but he was not the one I had wanted for more than five years.

After Betty and I discussed Muhammed, my long sought-after Nissen doll, I created a new eBay saved search for "john nissen muhammed."  Because of this narrowed saved search, within a few days, eBay notified me of a listing for Muhammed.  Whattt???  I couldn't believe it.  So, right then and there, after adding the auction to my eBay watch list, I named Muhammed and claimed him as mine!  As usual, I waited until the last day and last seconds of the auction to enter my maximum bid.  I was the only bidder and won!

Muhammed arrived safely on 11/30/2012 exactly as his seller described him.
By doll artist John Nissen from the "United Children of our World" series / collection, this 27-inch tall vinyl example titled, "Muhammed."  Representing Egypt, Muhammed is in customary attire and is in beautifully maintained condition with no rubs to the vinyl.

His black wig and full eyelashes are nicely intact.  No original packaging is included with this example.  Original costume is in [excellent] condition with no rips, no tears, no stains and no odors.

The seller, bieg, also sent a copy of Muhammed's pamphlet and a very nice thank you card.

My handsome Egyptian boy and his pamphlet are shown below in photographs "bieg" permitted me to use.  An additional photograph taken by me of Muhammed and the other members of my John Nissen United Children of the World doll family follows.

United Children of Our World, Muhammed by John Nissen, ca. 1990s - photographs of doll and pamphlet courtesy of eBay seller, bieg.  Muhammad was described as 27-inches by the seller but he is actually 29 inches tall. 
United Children of Our World, Muhammed of Egypt is joined by 27-inch Fatou (Gambia) and a smaller, 14-inch boy whose African descent is unknown (click to enlarge any image).

Again, thanks to my conversation with Betty, I have added three new dolls to my collection (Buba and Kolo by D'Azucar Creationes and now Muhammed by John Nissen). 


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  1. I enjoyed learning about a doll artist and his dolls. Thanks

  2. Very nice! I enjoyed reading about Muhammed. Congratulations on getting him!

  3. Some excellent detailing on him.

  4. Hello from Spain: this post is very informative and interesting. I like to see this collection of dolls in the world. In my country are are on sale in stores. Keep in touch

  5. Congrats! I am very familiar with John Nissen, but I do not own any of his creations. Very nice finds!

  6. Dear Mrs. Garret, thank you for your interest blog. I came across a doll from John Nissen (written on the dolls neck), probably one from his united children of our world collection, but i can't find any information about her. I uploaded a picture here: but i could send you some more pictures. I would love to know more about her; could you please help me with some information? Regards, Sara

    1. Hi Sara - I could not access your uploaded photo. Therefore, I am unable to provide additional information on your John Nissen doll. Have you tried searching completed eBay auctions to see if a similar doll has been sold there?


    2. Hello Mrs. Garret, thank you for your response. I tried searching eBay auctions. She looks a lot like Tala, but wears different clothes so i'm not sure it's her. I published some pics on my blog:, hopefully this works. Thanks again for your help! Regards, Sara

    3. I was able to see the photo at the above link, Sara. Nissen used the same head sculpt for most of his vinyl dolls that represent dark-skinned people, which is why you see the resemblance between your doll and Tala and even my doll Fatou. How tall is your doll? It looks smaller than 27 inches, more like the size of my 14-inch doll, but that could possibly be caused by the angle of the camera when the photograph was taken.

      That said, I have no idea what your doll's name is, but she is probably one of his Children of Our World dolls. Check the body for his signature or marks, remove the clothing if necessary. I don't recall if the COOW dolls bear that name on their bodies or not but that is a possibility.


    4. Hello Mrs. Garret, thank you for all the information. She is about 14 inches. Besides John Nissen's name, there is no other name or mark on the doll. But it's good to know she's probably from his COOW collection. Thanks again for your help. Regards, Sara

    5. You are welcome, Sara. I am happy to have been of assistance.



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