Babies and Mawmets and Poppets

…and every other name but “Doll”!

Dolls are hard to document. We’re absolutely sure that children used them, but extant examples are hard to come by, Stuart Arabellajust like other toys. Little people made dolls of pebble and bits of wood, bundles of rags or even a “corncob wrapped in a handkerchief” (as in Little House in the Big Woods, Laura Ingalls Wilder) Dolls get played hard and loved and destroyed….. That being said, there are a few out there and some in paintings (especially late period, such as this <<<< of Arabella Stuart) and a lot in inventories and descriptions.

Also, “doll” isn’t a period term, “poppet” is, and “baby” seems to have been used, as well, and “mawmet”, “puppe” and “tocke”.

Here’s a good basic article on Wikipedia:

Peg and Stump Dolls –
…are found occasionally. Originally carved from bits of branch or kindling, or fired in a solid piece of clay or even metal, the modern equivalent is the “Peg Doll” of the sort starting with the 2nd gallery.

The period inspirations 

There’s a short article on this page:

House Capuchin’s blog has a nice gallery of the peg dolls that we made here. This section starts about 1/4 of the way down the page:

Tudor/Elizabethan Ladies – These are a variation on the peg dolls, a simple dress-up of some dyed pegs, designed and worked by me.

Rag Dolls/Rag Babies

rag doll egypt rome toy050715 DollThese *way* predate period and other than kids pretending the rocks or sticks were “babies”, probably are the earliest of the dolls.

…and an extant rag doll from the Roman era 1st-5th cent. CE

…and some instructions from a modern recreationist who does *beautiful* ones for largesse all the time!

DP17646…and another from her newest stuff where she found a link to a Coptic tunic made for a doll.

072514 bunniesHouse Capuchin made a bunch of bunnies dressed in heraldic tabards with the populace badges of the Kingdom of An Tir, the Principality of the Summits and the badge of House Capuchin. There is a good write-up here:

053115 Doll3And here is my newest page on making my own sets of generic period rag dolls.

Rag Dolls

Jointed Dolls – Multi-piece toys date back a long way, too. Toys with wheels seem to date right to the first use of the wheel, although that’s only a guess. Jointed dolls….well, the examples are from closer in time, but how far back? We don’t know. Solid pieces exist like the peg dolls, but were they toys or “religious objects”? We don’t really know, but there are examples of both solid and jointed toys that pre-date SCA period.

Articulated doll bone Rome late 2nd centuryThis is a beautiful jointed doll  from the 2nd century CE and made of bone. This is *not* a simple toy! I have to say I keep thinking it’s an antique Barbie doll. 🙂 Look at the feet! I found the pic here:

There’s a Flicker picture of a similar doll here from Museo Nazionale Romano.

toys CrossmanCrafts…and Peter Crossman’s toy picture with a lovely jointed doll. He does a lot of period things from extant examples for museums! or you can go to his gallery page and scroll down.

A cropped bit of that picture. Very pixelated, but….

Crossman jointed doll

…and another design of his, which seems to be made in the shape of a Bartholomew Baby. This is a work in progress as of this fall, so I’m guessing there will be more soon. Also, I made a set of silhouettes of various extant dolls, and the last is another modern version.

An article examining some first century Egyptian dolls ––textile-and-papyrus-figurines-from-karanis?g=bulletin;rgn=main;view=fulltext;xc=1

(more to come)

Page Created 4/22/15 and published 6/2/15 (C)M. Bartlett
Last Update 3/23/18


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