Ms. #376 is from my favorite German manufacturer, A.W. Fr. Kister. Although Kister's products have the same excellent bisque and workmanship as the ladies from Galluba and Hofmann, the sculpting of Kister's lovely lasses is more anatomically proportioned and realistic. Their ladies have striking faces, with sultry "bedroom" eyes, high cheekbones, and strong jaw and chin. She also displays a characteristic generally lacking on bathing belles from other companies, but is typical of Kister, molded and tinted nipples. Her blue bathing shoes with the odd low heels are also a Kister characteristic. Incised "3" under her hips, she is 5.5 inches long and 4 inches high. She wears an old pale blonde mohair wig.
As the Victorian era passed into the Edwardian and Roaring Twenties, a market developed for bisque and china bawdy novelties and figurines of women in revealing outfits. Although now most of these figurines seem more coy and cute than ribald and risque, in their time they symbolized the casting off of the perceived restraints of the Victorian era.
These little lovelies included bathing beauties, who came clad in swimsuits of real lace or in stylish painted beach wear, as well as mermaids, harem ladies, and nudies, who were meant to wear nothing more than an engaging smile. Also produced were flippers, innocent appearing figurines who reveal a bawdy secret when flipped over, and squirters, figurines that were meant to squirt water out of an appropriate orifice.
Most were manufactured in Germany from the late 1800s through the 1930s, often showing remarkable artistry and imagination, with Japan entering the market during World War I.