I was gifted with a little something the other day that prompted this post (that, and "Vintage Thingie Thursday" at The Colorado Lady), and renewed my interest in finishing up a long-shelved project. A grand art retreat, "Art and Soul", was held in Las Vegas last week...while I did not attend, I had a few lucky friends who did...lucky, and extremely thoughtful. Colleen (La Dee Dah Day) brought me a handmade replica of the antique China head dolls popular in the mid to late 1800s. I don't know that Colleen knew I loved these dolls and have been gathering them for some time, but her addition to my collection stands head and shoulders above the other diminutive ones and, henceforth, shall be referred to as "The Boss", in Colleen's honor - that's her in the center. The rest are antique, and include a male doll that oddly resembles Abe Lincoln.
Blue eyes; amber eyes; raven black hair; rouged cheeks; and red, bow shaped lips...each one slightly different from the next, dependant upon the individual artist's hand. Check out the cheeks on the tiny charmer in the lower right picture. These range in size from 2-5/8" to 1-1/2" tall. All waiting for renewed life...it's about time they were taken from their shoebox home - this is the year, thanks to The Boss, and "The Boss", for renewing the spark of interest I've long had for these tiny treasures.
Which brings me to The Sisters. These three surely need some tender loving care - they came to me very time worn (and mouse chewed) - but I probably love them the most. I acquired them a few years back, from an eBay seller who had purchased a property that had an old barn on it. As they were clearing the barn they had come across these three dolls, laying together on the wooden floorboards...placed carefully, way in the back of an overhead loft. The seller did not want them and did not take the time with photographs, to my advantage (oh, I love when that happens). They were kept as the set they were found in, thankfully, and I got them for a song.
Identical in size (their bodies are approx. 12 inches from head to toe - the heads are 2-5/8" tall)...were these, perhaps, the beloved playthings of three little sisters? I do wish I knew the whole story, but my imagination has had a hey-day on its own, in any event.
This sad girl is a little worse for the wear than the other two...her poor neck has been broken but she puts on a brave face. Her feet and hands also have not fared so well over time, but replacement parts have been purchased, and I hope to have her feeling more like her old self, soon.
Stuffed with the original excelsior, I have left them as they came to me (including the years of dirt on their lovely faces), until I could research enough to do a proper (or reasonable) restoration, fairly accurately. One body has been removed already, to use as a pattern - yes, this is the year!
The original clothing must have been beautiful. The one remaining dress, almost intact, shows some remarkable detailing of a pleated bustle, and tiny silk bands around the waist and wrists.
And this dress must have made quite the fashion statement...fleur de lis are still plentiful among the tattered remnants. Yes, my mind wanders, wondering about the little girls that loved these, long ago. And yes, they will be sitting on a shelf anew (gifts of the littler ones to loved ones, perhaps, but The Sisters will stay together, with me), by the end of this year - this IS the year!
And I leave you with this...the "Odd Man Out". This one is unlike any of the others I have seen, or have in my possession...a male doll of the same age, given to me in a box of antique treasures, by another friend. His name is Abe...he might just have to be finished along with the girls, but it's gonna' take a little more research on his account, I'm afraid. This might just be his lucky year, too! Be sure to drop by and check out the wonderful posts at Vintage Thingie Thursday. Thanks for providing me a New Year's Resolution, Boss!