iPhoneOgraphy – 17 Apr 2016 (Day 108/366)
A doll is a model of a human being, often used as a toy for children. Dolls have traditionally been used in magic and religious rituals throughout the world, and traditional dolls made of materials such as clay and wood are found in the Americas, Asia, Africa and Europe. The earliest documented dolls go back to the ancient civilizations of Egypt, Greece and Rome. The use of dolls as toys was documented in Greece around 100 AD. They have been made as crude, rudimentary playthings as well as elaborate art. Modern doll manufacturing has its roots in Germany, going back to the 15th century. With industrialization and new materials such as porcelain and plastic, dolls were increasingly mass-produced. During the 20th century, dolls became increasingly popular as collectibles.
The earliest dolls were made from available materials such as clay, stone, wood, bone, ivory, leather, or wax. Archaeological evidence places dolls as the foremost candidate for the oldest known toy. Wooden paddle dolls have been found in Egyptian tombs dating to as early as the 21st century BC. Dolls with movable limbs and removable clothing date back to at least 200 BC. Greek dolls were made of clay and articulated at the hips and shoulders. There are stories from ancient Greece around 100 AD that show that dolls were used by little girls as playthings. In Rome, dolls were made of clay, wood or ivory. Dolls have been found in the graves of Roman children. Like children today, the younger members of Roman civilization would have dressed their dolls according to the latest fashions. When Greek and Roman girls got married they would dedicate their doll to a goddess. Rag dolls are traditionally home-made from spare scraps of cloth material. Roman rag dolls have been found dating back to 300 BC.
Traditional dolls are sometimes used as children’s playthings, but they may also have spiritual, magical and ritual value. There is no defined line between spiritual dolls and toys. In some cultures dolls that had been used in rituals were given to children. They were also used in children’s education and as carriers of cultural heritage. In other cultures dolls were considered too laden with magical powers to allow children to play with them.