Interested in china doll head, dress & shoes? Find out about the unique characteristics of these antique china dolls.
China dolls are unique porcelain collectible dolls with glazed faces and painted legs. Germany is credited with being the first country to produce these dolls in mass. A unique element of the history of these dolls is that they were never produced as dolls in one go. Rather the Germans produced china doll heads, arms and legs and then exported them to other countries where they would be joined to a wooden or kidskin body.
China doll heads
The production of China doll heads picked up during the mid 1800s. At the time there were only a few companies involved in the production and export of china doll heads. The heads sometimes sported modeled wigs whereas other heads would be fitted with a wig over a bald dome. The smallest of china doll heads was around 3” tall whereas the largest of them actually measures a total of 40” tall.
While the majority of china doll heads are unmarked some can be seen carrying a serial number. Since it is almost impossible to identify the actual manufacturer of the china doll heads they are identified according to their hairstyles. China doll heads were actually given the popular hairstyles of their time. The changing trends could also be seen reflected on china doll heads.
While most of the later dolls feature life like hair the thing that set china dolls apart was the fact that the hair was actually painted on their heads. The painting varied to produce different hairstyles which became the identification standard for the china doll.
China doll dress
As with the hairstyles the dresses of the china dolls also reflected the fashion of the times. Since the bodies of the china dolls were not made of porcelain the fabrics that were used to make the doll dresses have actually worn out with the passage of time. You have to be incredibly lucky to get your hands on a china doll wearing its original dress. China dolls were given very elaborate dresses. The manufacturers strived to put in each and every detail of the prevailing fashion on the dresses of the china doll.
China doll shoes
Generally two different kinds of trends prevailed regarding the china doll shoes. Most popularly the shoes would be painted on to the porcelain legs of the china doll much in the same way as the hairstyles. Hence you would have different style shoes simply painted on the porcelain feet of the doll. In most cases the socks and stockings on the legs would also be painted. On the other hand some china dolls actually had shoes made out of fabric or kidskin. But naturally these kinds of shoes could not last the test of time.
Finding antique china dolls in good shape is a tough challenge. Although many replicas of these dolls are available in the market the original china doll is worth a lot more in the eye’s of the collector.