Ms. #410 is a nubile nymph from my favorite manufacturer, the German firm of A. W. Fr. Kister. Kister's lovely ladies are often mistaken for those made by competitor Galluba and Hofmann, but Kister's lissome lasses are more realistically proportioned than the stylized Gallubas and typically have molded and blushed nipples, an anatomical detail missing on most bathing belles. They also generally wear molded bathing slippers with low heels. Like most of her Kister sisters, this bisque beauty is unmarked. Of the finest bisque and workmanship, she is 5 inches long and 3.5 inches high. She retains her pale blonde mohair wig with the remains of taupe net bathing cap.
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.