Postcard Image

Postcard Image
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.

Friday, October 21, 2022

Stunning Sosaku-Ningyo

This beautifully modeled and dressed doll is known as a sosaku-ningyo (creative or art doll). Beginning in the 1920s, some Japanese doll artists began to experiment with classical Japanese doll making techniques.

These artists used traditional doll-making methods and materials, like gofun, the smooth white porcelain-like finish made from ground oyster shells, to created art dolls that strove to be more natural and life-like. This bewitching bijin (beautiful woman) is 4.5 inches tall and comes dressed in her original miniature silk kimono. Although her arms appear to be slightly jointed (perhaps to aid in dressing her), the rest of her body is a single piece. The silk mat, which matches some of the material in her kimono, also appears to be original, and the miniature lantern came with her as well. This doll may date from the 1950s. 

She is exquisite from any angle. The sculpting and painting are very detailed, from her complex hairstyle to her serene face to the carefully delineated fingernails. The miniature kimono is perfectly tailored to fit her.

Now I know some are you are thinking yes, she is alluring and lovely, but why is she on this blog?  I do not want to try to undress her, for fear of damaging her silk kimono or the fragile gofun finish, but she is also anatomically correct. . . 

. . .very anatomically correct. There is a long tradition of exotic art in Japan. The shunga (spring pictures) were vivid and unashamed artistic depictions of sexual activity and pleasure, often portrayed with playfulness and humor. The development of woodblock printing allowed these enticing images to be reproduced and shared. Although officially banned, these woodblock prints were very popular and sold on the sly. Many of the famous artists of the day contributed to the genre and their creations are prized by connoisseurs. This delicate doll demonstrates the traditional Japanese merging of erotica and art.


Thursday, October 6, 2022

Knittin' with a Kitten

Galluba and Hofmann is renown among collectors for its voluptuous bathing beauties and aristocratic fashion ladies, but the company also produced some charming children with all the same delicate details and fine workmanship it lavished on its lovely ladies. This endearing double figurine features a little girl  engaged in knitting while a boy stands in front of his school satchel. The boy appears to be lecturing from a large open book, but the girl is more interested in the antics of the cute kitten batting at the ball of yarn by her feet. Both wear their original light brown mohair wigs, the boy's with large curls and the girl's long and wavy with straight bangs. They have the typical Galluba intaglio blue eyes with black pupils and black and red lid lines and their parted slightly smiling coral lips reveal tiny molded teeth. The modeling is superb, from the children's rosy faces and graceful hands to the folds and ruffles in their outfits. Of excellent sharp bisque, this doubly delightful figurine is 3.5 inches wide, and 5.5 inches tall. 

Underneath the piece is stamped in black with the Galluba and Hofmann shield and incised "383."