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Jan 30, 2009

Slavic folk toys

While doing me research in the history of costume, I stumbled over the material that describes the history of Slavic folk toys.
It was no news for me that originally dolls had ceremonial meaning and served as defence from evil forces.
Since ancient times rag dolls have been traditional toys for many peoples. Adults would encourage their kids to play with dolls, as it taught them to run the household duties; and, actually, for kids it was a virtual reality of a Home and Family.
Looks like young girls learned handcrafts like sewing, weaving and embroidery " thanks to" their dolls. They would dress their dolls up, then show them to older women and after receiving the " matriarchs" approval, they would set to making their own dowry.
Dolls were considered not just as toj, but also as a symbol of increase and reproduction of their seed and the key to family happiness.
My attention was drawn to the fact that the line between the ceremonial dolls and the toy dolls is very blurry and it is not clear which of them came first - the ceremonial or the toy dolls.
Anyway, I decided to take my chances and make a Russian folk doll - the kind our grannies would have played with.
The very first doll predecessors were "faceless". The face would remain blank - unpainted.
In villages this fact was explained as simply inability to beautifully paint the face, and moreover, that there was a deficit of appropriate paint. But in reality its meaning runs much deeper - a " faceless" doll was considered to be a lifeless object,inaccessible to evil forces to inhabit its body or soul, and therefore safe for the child to play with. It was assumed that the doll had bring its little master/ mistress prosperity, health and happines...
This theme is very profound and insightful and requires more time than you and me got at hand now.
... and there she is - my pretty little doll, whom I created unred the inspiration of the stories and echoes from the past.




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2 comments:

oksana 5/2/09  

Maija! She is so heartful!She has so much soul! It seems that she is speaking with you (or opening )about your hidden side of your soul.

Iowa Sunshine 7/2/09  

She is so adorable. I love her. Great work. Thanks for sharing her. HUGS, Judy

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