That is because this little beach boy is hollow, so when he is gently placed in water, he does the back float. Called badekinder (bathing children), they were produced in Germany as children’s playthings and bath toys. However, the delicate thin bisque shell could not tolerate too many knocks against the side of a bowl or bathtub, so few of these sweet little swimmers seem to have survived.
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, November 18, 2022
be on one's feet
remain in force
This little bathing boy knows just how to keep his head above water. Of fine rosy bisque, beautifully modeled and decorated, and clad only in blue and white striped bathing trunks, this 4-inch long figurine is surprisingly lightweight for its size.