Thursday, February 09, 2006

Historical Applehead dolls


Recently I won a wonderfully costumed and unique Henry VIII applehead doll created by the late Mary Winsheimer, a prominent member of the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen. I understand Mary won a number of awards for her dolls and was featured on TV Channel 8 Lancaster demonstrating her techniques.

I purchased the doll from her son who also had a Viking Warrior and Pope Paul II dolls handmade by his mother as well. I'm sure I'll be pleased with them when they arrive too.

"Apple-headed dolls are part of along, fascinating history . . . one that extends back to prehistoric times, when primitive puppets appeared in ceremonial magic displays. Tribal healers in Africa and Asia often used dolls in their medicinal rituals . . . and, even today, the ancient superstition of causing sympathetic harm is preserved whenever a mob burns the stuffed figure of an unpopular person "in effigy".

Dollmaking has a rich-and innocentheritage in America, too, where the Indians taught early settlers the art of constructing such playthings from native raw materials. Corn husks and cobs were most often employed . . . as well as wood, lobster shells, nuts, twigs, and gourds. Just about any object that could be bent (or carved) into a human shape, clothed, and hugged was fair game!

The Seneca Indians were reportedly the first people to make dolls out of apples . . . but the craft was later adopted by mountaineers in Appalachia, where such handmade toys are still produced as part of the area's cottage industry." - Mother Earth News

The article also contains instructions for making your own unique Applehead dolls!
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