Miriam makeba doll

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Kewpie doll crafted as tea party hostess

Sometimes old toys were crafted into new items. What we have here is a celluloid Kewpie doll made between 1910-1920, which was later on cut in half and then crafted to a tea hostess for a child's toy size teapot. This would have been between 1920-1930.
A Tea party doll hostess is made to be placed on the tea pot and for adult use. Our item is a child’s toy size tea pot doll which is very rare.
Over the Art Deco decades Japanese manufactured porcelain half dolls (head, arms and bust) were especially popular in 1930s when sold in New Zealand and Australia. These half dolls were later crafted as pincushion dolls (see photo below our item Lady in Light Turquoise with red roses crafted in New Zealand ca 1920).
To understand our Kewpie item crafted with woven skirt we need to start with the first years of Art Deco fashion. In around 1915 the Carl Schneider Porcelain Factory from Germany produced an erotic novelty half body nude porcelain doll. We believe that this particular nude half doll was an influence for our museum item. The bottom part of our Kewpie item instead of becoming a pin cushion was converted to be the woolen skirt of the tea party hostess. Top part of a doll is in nude.
A Kewpie itself is a little angel with tiny wings that is also connected to an erotic symbol. The doll is the original Kewpie doll character drawn by American journalist Rose O’Neill. Kewpie was first published as an Illustration in the Ladies’ Home Journal in 1909.
In Art Deco times Kewpie dolls were made in America, Germany and Japan. At the back of our Kewpie celluloid doll are incised circled letter K and written Japan.

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