This prettiest of prima ballerinas is attributed to the German firm of Dressel, Kister and Company. Of the finest flawless bisque, she is 8 inches high. Her slender arms with delicately detailed hands are jointed at the shoulders, but her legs are stiff. There is a hole in her left toe for supporting rod, and these beautiful ballerinas were once attached to pincushions and music boxes ornately adorned with silk, lace, beads, and ribbon. Her luxurious costume, lavished with silk floral garlands, gold lace, and tiny gilt beads, appears to be original and is typical of the elaborate outfits used by Dressel in dressing its ladies and half dolls. There are no visible marks.
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.