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A World of Dolls:
The Dabney Collection and Beyond

Exhibition Dates: January 17 - May 21, 1993


Dolls of the World. Dolls, three-dimensional representations of the human figure, have been used by man over many millennia in diverse ways and often have had multiple functions. Within their societies of origin, dolls have been used as idols, ancestor images, fetishes, amulets, talismans, votive images, funeral images, mannequins, objects of art, and objects of play. Today, dolls are most often considered as toys Of playthings that resemble the human form; however, they a:-e and have been the playthings of adults as when as children. In the, fashion dolls have provided an important means of communicating the latest fashion modes in Europe and throughout the world. Dolls have also been used as decorative items to be displayed in the drawing-room or other places of prominence.

Carl Fox, who explored various definitions for dolls in his writings in The Doll, concluded that "more questions than answers have often found, which is perhap5 not a bad thing when dealing with a subject everyone takes for granted. ...the doll is best known by its associations. There is not one doll or one criterion. Everything depends on the confluence of time and attitudes past and present." (1)

Throughout the world, dolls have been made from nearly every conceivable material and combinations of materials. European and American dolls, however, have been most commonly made of wood, papier mache and other Compositions, ceramics, leather, wax, fabric, rubber, metal, and celluloid.

The  collecting of doll  is not a new phenomenon, but it has become a passion for many thousands of people in this century. This penchant for collecting, the  joy and connoisseurship that surround collectors and their desire to preserve and share, has made possible the preservation of what some might call the trivia of history throng h a proliferation of boors on dolls. Along with the increase of doll publications is the increase of museums and exhibitions devoted to dolls throughout the United States and abroad. With prices for rare dolls reaching over $150,000 and prices for many dolls ever on the rise, dolls have now become an area of investment.

(1) The Doll, text hy Carl Fox. Photographs by H. Landshoff, page 55. Harry N. Abrahams, Inc., New York, 1977.

Introduction | Edith Dabney's Doll Collection | Photo Album | Credits | Past Exhibitions

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LSU Textile & Costume Museum
140 Human Ecology Building
Department of Textiles, Apparel Design, and Merchandising
College of Agriculture
Louisiana State University
Baton Rouge, LA 70803
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