This seductive sultana is of chalkware or plaster. During the early 1900s, there was a fad for pretty plaster ladies, often dressed in real materials, even if it was just a filmy lace chemise. Perhaps the best known of these chalkware coquettes are the charming plaster poupees designed by the famed French Boudoir artist Maurice Millier. I do not know who made this ravishing rani, but she is clad in her original exotic, and somewhat exiguous, outfit. In surprisingly good shape considering the fragility of her materials, she is 11.5 inches tall and unmarked. The quality of both the figurine and her costume are quite high for this type of novelty statuette. Unfortunately, her maker is a mystery.
She reflects the West's continuing fascination with Orientalism, imaginative and fanciful depictions of a mysterious, seductive, and decadent Middle East. Her costume appears to have been inspired by the elaborate and lavish costumes created by Léon Bakst for the Ballet Russe's 1910 "Scheherazade."
In fact, her outfit certainly resembles (sans a couple of thousand dangling pearls) the costume worn by dancer Vera Fokina, who portrayed the unfaithful Zobéide, the favorite wife of Sultan Shahriyar, even to the openings down the front of the legs, the puffy peplum at the hips, and the contrasting bodice.