Sunday, September 26, 2021

DOLLS and PUPPETS: a melange of travels and collecting


Dolls and Puppets

We gathered all our funny faces: some perched on tables, some in bookshelves, the total being a result of travels and impulse buying: the people of many cultures. All seemed fit companions to our principal obsession: the folk, and the folk art, of Quimper!
Plus, they showcase the fabrics and costumes of the country, another of our passions!

Santons of Provence


Santons of Provence. These from a Brittany estate, bought at auction. They are true depictions of the Provencal folk,and the French love to use them as part of their Christmas. 

Puppets from Udaipur


From our India journeys, puppets from Udaipur. Found in a tiny shop, we rescued the head from the old puppet-maker himself, before he gaudied it up with paint and tinsel. And placated him by buying the finished one we found in a corner.

Nuthead dolls

 Nut head Dolls are an American folk art form that has rather died out. These two couples were bought from a famous doll collection that was auctioned off some years ago.

Tuareg doll

    "Hassan" is my affectionate name for this souvenir of Africa, found at a flea market in Brittany (the French are avid travellers to all parts of Africa). He represents one of the Tuareg, the "blue men" of  a Berber tribe, who wear this color to offset the UV rays of their intense sun. I named him for the only time I visited there : Marrakesh, where the real Hassan was a handsome young guide.

Caribbean golliwog doll


The Caribbean is full of  myths and creatures (like golliwogs) whose roots are African. This is a carnival figure that I love for his colorful gaudy clothing and direct connection to his African ancestry.

American doll



American family trio. Found in an antiques shop in Venice, Florida, a charming family trio, dressed in crisp blue-and-white (even the little teddy bear is nicely clothed), I found the composition of this group irresistible.

Fantasy Picture. Somehow, this seems to fit in with this grouping; it has a most intriguing history. It was painted by a young Jewish child who was one of a group gotten out of central Europe just before WW II started. An art teacher saved a number of the works they did in grade school: this is the very last of a whole group I acquired some years ago in Denver, where that teacher had just sold them to a good friend of mine. A remarkable journey for a remarkable souvenir!

    And thus does folk art endure: traditions and memories!