Friday, April 11, 2014

The History Behind Half Dolls and Their Lower Half, the Pin Cushion

This week my favorite out of the
new arrivals has to be this
antique half doll pin cushion.
Pretty and feminine,
perfectly worn and shabby.
But, what's the deal with
these half dolls? Where did
they come from? How did they
get their start? 

I did a little research and found out
Porcelain half dolls reached the height of their popularity between 1900 and 1930. The majority of these dolls were made in Germany, with some being produced in Italy, England, France, America and Japan. The earliest half dolls were similar in appearance to 18th-century Meissen dolls with finely sculpted limbs and features. These early half dolls were expensive and considered an extravagant possession. In the 1920s, the dolls became more modern in appearance, displaying bobs and flapper attire. These later models did not possess the same quality of design, being mass produced and poorly glazed.
Half dolls were employed in a wide variety of uses in early 20th-century households. Most commonly, the dolls functioned as pincushions, whisk brooms, bottle stoppers, lamp shades and powder puffs, with the aforementioned objects attached in lieu of legs or a skirt. Other half dolls sported wide, flowing skirts that could cover teapots, toiletries or other objects. Because half dolls were often sculpted without clothing, they also served as useful models for young ladies learning to sew.

I love reading about vintage things...
where they were used...
and why.
Enjoy the weekend!
Linking with Pink Saturday


Lorraine said...

Sooo pretty...I must say if I had one of these, I would NOT use it as a whisk broom, lol! Happy Pink Saturday!! Have a great weekend! ~Lorraine ♥♥♥

Francie...The Scented Cottage Studio said...

She is lovely ! I have two..but one of them has legs so I guess she really isn't a Half :))
Happy Pink Saturday !

Francie...The Scented Cottage Studio said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shabbyprimdelights said...

She is gorgeous....and I love the history lesson too....thank you HPS Michelle

Faye said...

She's lovely and thank you for the information. I found 2 just plain half dolls (unfinished) at the flea market last weekend, they are the Made in Japan style, I was thrilled to find them. It was fun to find your post about them!

Joyce - Quilted Nest said...

Great 'favorite' from your pickings this week. I think she may be mine too. And thanks for the collage how-to.

Tea in the Library said...

She is lovely. Thanks for the background on half dolls. Always enjoy learning something new.

RachelD said...

How very charming! She's such a lovely example, in her satiny finery and well-kept coiffure.

You've this minute inspired a blog post---a memory of a much larger, more modern half-doll who lived on the bed in my Mammaw's spare bedroom. She wore a beautiful crocheted dress, in variegated purples and violets and white, and had a small velvet hat with a sweeping garden-party brim.

Her skirt just spread upon the pillow and bed, and she was made to be lady's stash-your-gown convenience. The minute I arrived for a visit, I whisked my pajamas out of my little travel case and folded them neatly beneath the swirl of her skirts. That was such a civilized, ladylike thing to do, I thought, and you've kindled a wonderful memory.