Made by and When: Marlena H. Nielsen for Danbury Mint, 1995
Material: Porcelain and cloth
Marks: The artist’s signature is incised in the nape of the doll’s neck: Marlena H. Nielsen
Height: 19 inches
Hair, Eyes, Mouth: Brown synthetic curly wig, brown inset eyes with applied upper eyelashes and painted lower eyelashes; closed, smiling mouth
Clothes: Wears a West African-inspired fashion of blue shirt, rust-colored wrap, and rust and green print full-length wrap skirt or lapa with rust-colored canvas rope-soled shoes. A gele that matches the fabric of the skirt, gold hoop earrings, several beaded necklaces, and a double-stranded white bead bracelet complete the fashion. Missing is a basket of grain/wheat.
Other: Nalo, which means “lovable” or “lovable daughter,” is an example of the types of mass-produced “collectible” dolls available for adult collectors during the 1990s distributed by Danbury Mint, Franklin Mint, Ashton-Drake, Georgetown, and others. Many adult collectors began their collections with this type of doll. Some companies used head sculpts repeatedly to create other dolls that were renamed, redressed, and/or re-wigged—similar to what one company has done throughout the years with their popular 8-inch doll.
Nalo’s artist, Marlena H. Nielsen, used the same head and body sculpts for another Danbury Mint doll, Anuli. Included with both dolls were instructions for posing, a hang tag, and a registered certificate of authenticity that included the purchaser’s name. Most companies only included a certificate of authenticity that was not registered and did not include the owner’s name.
Nalo originally held a basket of grain which has been replaced by a porcelain African baby doll.
Nalo was donated to the museum by Kimberly Samuel of Maryland.
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