What does a bathing beauty wear during the winter? Well, if she lives here in Austin, Texas, where the weather has been in the 80s, she is probably still in her swimsuit. However, these frosty little flappers, who live in some wintry clime that actually sees snow, have traded swimming for sledding. Although bundled up against the cold, their winter garments do little to hide their lithe bodies and subtle curves. All are of good china and incised "Germany." The two tobogganing in tandem are 3 inches high and 3.25 inches long and also are incised "K92," while the single sledder is incised "K89," and the pretty miss pulling her sled is incised "K91." Interestingly, someone has tried to cover the "Germany" on all three pieces with enamel paint, perhaps as a result of anti-German sentiment during WWII.
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.