Two Early 1900s Composition Character Dolls

Name: Two Early 1900s Composition Dolls

Made by and When: Unknown manufacturer, early 1900s

Material: Ceramic-like composition

Marks: Unmarked

Height: 20 and 13 inches

The larger doll close-up

Larger Doll’s Hair, Eyes, Mouth: Black Astrakhan bangs. The rest of the bald head is covered with a faded red headscarf; stationary, side-glancing blue eyes accented with a red dot in the corner of each eye socket; open mouth with red-painted lips. This doll might have once had upper teeth. Both nostrils are accented with red dots of paint.

The smaller doll close-up

Smaller Doll’s Hair, Eyes, Mouth: Black Astrakhan bangs. The rest of the bald head is covered with a red and white striped headscarf that is embellished with three rows of iridescent gemstones; brown painted side-glancing eyes accented with a red dot in the corner of each eye socket; open mouth with red-painted lips. Both nostrils are accented with red dots of paint.

Clothes: The larger doll wears a faded red headscarf that matches the color and material of the bodice of the dress, the neckline of which is trimmed in white rickrack. The skirt of the dress is red and white striped heavy cotton. A small white rickrack-trimmed apron is tied around the waist. Also wears goldtone hoop earrings (now tarnished) and newer brown-knit child-size panties tapered to fit the doll.  The smaller doll wears a red and white striped headscarf with iridescent gemstone embellishments in the front, as described under the Hair, Eyes, Mouth section for the smaller doll. The red and white striped dress has one row of gemstones between the collar lapels. Wears tarnished goldtone hoop earrings and handmade, newer white cotton panties.  Both dolls have bare feet. NOTE: Dolls like these were more commonly dressed in African tribal costumes. The well-made dresses these dolls wear might be replacements for the original costumes.

Other: These two similarly made dolls with ethnically correct (fuller) facial features were possibly made by the same manufacturer during the early 1900s. The origin is assumed to be German. The composition has a ceramic or bisque weight and a rough texture, unlike the lighter weight, smooth-textured American-made composition dolls.

Gallery

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Published by DeeBeeGee

Doll collector, historian, co-founder of the first e-zine devoted to collecting black dolls; author of black-doll reference books, doll blogs, and doll magazine articles.

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