Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Did Mattel Rerelease "Great Eras" Historical Barbies?

I was surprised this morning to see that Amazon is now offering the "Great Eras" Barbies for sale (again). They listed the Great Eras Elizabethan Barbie for $24.95. I did a quick check and saw that most of the original "Great Eras" Barbies are available. They must have been rereleased by Mattel because I bought mine years ago and they were offered on Ebay at the time as "vintage" items even then. They are really quite nice. The only one whose costume is not terribly realistic is the Great Eras Egyptian Queen although it is quite pretty. My favorites are the Elizabethan Queen, the French Queen and the Medieval Queen. As you can see by the photo above left, the French Queen's costume is historically pretty accurate if you compare it to the costumes of the ladies of Napoleon's court shown in the painting by G. Rouget. Of course they're not as elaborate as the recent collector's edition Elizabeth I, Marie Antoinette and Josephine Bonaparte but they are nicely detailed (and don't cost over $200 each! - although I managed to get my collectors edition historical queens on sale for quite a bit less).

I received my Barbie collector's edition catalog last night and see that they have a new line of DC Comic book hero Barbies that, although not technically historical (except culturally!), are really fun with detailed costumes. I think I'm going to have to make an exception to my historical rule and add these to my collection as well. I wasn't familiar with the "Black Canary" but really liked the Wonder Woman, Bat Girl, and Super Girl. When I went up to see if I could get a better deal up on Amazon I see that there is also a Cat Woman that looks interesting as well!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Samurai Toyotomi Hideyoshi joins Dragon In Dreams Figure Lineup

I was very excited to see that Dragon In Dreams has released another Samurai 12" figure! I have their first Samuari, Takeda Shingen, and the detail is incredible! I usually like to take my figures out of their boxes for display purposes but the armor and real metal weapons are so detailed I didn't want to take a chance on losing anything so I have him displayed in the box with his rearing horse, wearing an embroiderd silk saddle, still in the box next to him.

The new figure is Toyotomi Hideyoshi, a Sengoku period daimyo who unified Japan. He succeeded his former liege lord, Oda Nobunaga, and brought an end to the Sengoku period. The period of his rule is often called the Momoyama period,
after Hideyoshi's castle. He is noted for a number of cultural legacies,
including the restriction that only members of the samurai class could bear
Around 1557 he returned to Owari and joined the Oda clan, now headed
by Oda Nobunaga, as a lowly servant. He became one of Nobunaga's
sandal-bearers and was present at the Battle of Okehazama in 1560 when
Nobunaga defeated Yoshimoto to become one of the most powerful warlords
in the Sengoku period. In 1561, Hideyoshi married Nene.
Hideyoshi was very successful as a negotiator. In 1564 he managed to convince,
mostly with liberal bribes, a number of Mino warlords to desert the Saito clan.
Hideyoshi approached many Saito clan samurai and convinced them to submit to
Nobunaga, including the Saito clan's strategist Takenaka Hanbei. Nobunaga's easy
victory at Inabayama Castle in 1567 was largely due to Hideyoshi's efforts, and
despite his peasant origins, Hideyoshi became one of Nobunaga's most
distinguished generals.
In 1583, Hideyoshi began construction of Osaka Castle. Built on the site of the
temple Ishiyama Honganji destroyed by Nobunaga, the castle would become the
last stronghold of the Toyotomi clan after Hideyoshi's death.
Hideyoshi sought the title of shogun in order to be truly considered the active ruler
of Japan. However, the emperor did not grant that title to Hideyoshi. In 1586,
Hideyoshi was formally given the name Toyotomi by the imperial court.
In 1590 Siege of Odawara against the Late Hojo clan in Kanto eliminated the
last resistance to Hideyoshi's authority. His victory signified the end of the Sengoku
Toyotomi Hideyoshi died in September 1598. His death was kept extremely secret
by the Council of Five Elders to preserve morale. It was not until late October that
they sent a decree to the Japanese commanders to withdraw. After his death, the
other members of the Council of Five Regents were unable to keep the ambitions of
Tokugawa Ieyasu in check. Two of Hideyoshi's top generals Kato Kiyomasa and
Fukushima Masanori had fought bravely during the war, but returned to find
Toyotomi clan bureaucrat Ishida Mitsunari in power. He held the generals in low
esteem, and they sided with Tokugawa Ieyasu. Hideyoshi's underaged son and
designated successor Hideyori lost the power his father once held, and Tokugawa
Ieyasu was declared shogun following the Battle of Sekigahara.

A quick check on Dragon In Dreams website shows they are also preparing to release Hideyoshi's liege lord as well - Oda Nobunaga

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Collection from Enchanted World of Dolls Goes Up For Bid

A number of years ago on my way back to Oregon from a trip to the east coast, I stopped in Mitchell, South Dakota and photographed a wonderful collection of dolls at the Enchanted World of Dolls Museum. Recently, with sadness, I noticed that the museum had closed.

Now I see that the former owner (I assume the Ebay seller is the museum owner) is beginning to auction off the dolls and its a rare opportunity to bid on some truly world class artist dolls. One of my eBay alerts watches for dolls of Mary Queen of Scots and I received an alert that a Kathy Redmond (one of my favorite doll artists) Mary Queen of Scots was coming up for bid. When I clicked on the link I saw that it was one of the marvelous dolls I had seen in Mitchell. Unfortunately, I'm now retired and with the economy in such a slump, I don't feel comfortable bidding on collectibles right now. There is also a reserve on the doll that apparently is above the current bid of $130. So I guess I will have to satisfy myself with admiring the doll from afar (again).

I see that in this first round there are also two of Emma Clear's meticulously created dolls of George and Martha Washington, too.