Burned Doll Head

The object seems to have been mis-shapen over time. The eyes and nose can still be made out clearly though the eyes are simply two empty holes now. The head looks like it has been flattened and the mouth area is now just a nebulous indentation. The object is corroded all over, covering much of the object in black clumps. All of this makes it difficult to trace the object’s origins although there are still several clues.

Research suggests that the doll may have been manufactured in Europe some time after 1860. One aspect of the doll that gives it a fairly specific time of origin would be the two holes on the top of the doll’s head.  These holes would likely have been meant to hold a wig.  This particular practice was not widely used in porcelain dolls until around 1860, before this, porcelain dolls had sculpted hair that was a fixed part of a given doll’s head.

Part of the exhibit also shows a very similar-looking doll that originates from 1800’s Germany, narrowing down its place of origin.  Although the features of the doll have been distorted, the general look of the object fits with beauty standards in the Victorian Europe era.

More specifically, the tiny nose, small mouth with bowed upper lip, high forehead, and large, round eyes displayed by the doll are in keeping with beauty standards for Victorian Europe. Porcelain dolls had a spike in popularity during 1800’s Europe; a doll made during this time would also likely reflect the beauty standards of the society around it.     Read more.