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small figure of a human being, usually used as a child's toy. The many types of dolls found among the relics of primitive peoples were cult objects. Egypt, Greece, and Rome have left well-preserved dolls of wood, clay, bone, ivory, and bronze that were used symbolically and probably also as childrens' playthings. Puppetspuppet,
human or animal figure, generally of a small size and performing on a miniature stage, manipulated by an unseen operator who usually speaks the dialogue. A distinction is made between marionettes, moved by strings or wires from above, and hand puppets, in which the hand
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 with movable arms and legs were known in ancient Greece. Crèchecrèche
, representation of the Infant Jesus in the manger, usually surrounded by figures of Mary, Joseph, shepherds, animals, and the Wise Men; also called Christmas Crib. The crèche has been displayed in churches during the period from Christmas Eve to Jan.
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 dolls, some of them artistic masterpieces, were used in Roman Catholic lands in representations of the Nativity. From the 15th cent., fashion dolls were popular in Europe as gifts among monarchs and courtiers and were important in the spread of costume styles. Dolls brought to the American colonies exemplified the latest European fashions in dress and coiffure. By the 17th cent., play dolls were commonly used by both boys and girls. Sonneberg, Germany, was noted from the 17th cent. as a center for wooden dolls, and by the 19th cent. the town led also in the making of dolls' china heads. The doll industry in Paris developed dolls that could speak and close their eyes and specialized in high-fashion dolls. The use of papier-mâché early in the 19th cent. stimulated large-scale manufacture. Wood, china, and wax were also used at this time; hard rubber was introduced c.1850, and bisque c.1862. The colonial cornhusk man and the rag doll began as domestic products, but have developed into commercial popular products. Cutout paper dolls are probably derived form the animated cardboard pantins fashionable among French courtiers in the 18th cent. During the 20th cent. doll manufacturing in the United States developed into a huge industry. Dolls have served various functions throughout Asia and Africa. In Japan they are used mainly as ceremonial figures, and in India they are given to child brides. African girls are often given dolls upon reaching sexual maturity; they eventually give these dolls to their firstborn children.


See studies by R. S. Freeman (1972), C. Goodfellow (1986), M. Longenecker (1987), and M. O. Merrill (1985).

What does it mean when you dream about a doll?

Dolls in dreams may indicate children, childhood, or childlikeness. Depending on the dream, they sometimes embody either the persona or the shadow self. Dolls also indicate fashion (as in manikins), beauty (a “doll”), manipulation (as in puppets), and revenge (“voodoo dolls”).


Dolls in dreams are lifeless images of real people. They are suggestive of a person that is not genuine and does not express her feelings. Most dreams are about our personal issues and concerns and not about others. Therefore, think about yourself and try to see if you have been behaving in such ways that have been less than “real.” Dolls as a dream symbol may represent the way you relate and interact with your internal and external environments. If feelings of detachment and phoniness prevail in your daily life, then they may be reflected in this dream.
References in classic literature ?
Of course I was delighted with this present," continued Miss Cuttenclip, "and at once set to work and made several paper dolls, which, as soon as they were cut out, began to walk around and talk to me.
And forgetting her hate and contempt for dolls, down sat Fanny, soon getting as much absorbed as either of the others.
One of the life-size dolls stood immediately overshadowing the blood stain, summoned, perhaps, by the slain man an instant before he fell.
And when he saw it was the doll he pushed it from him in his misery and rushed away to the camp, and told them all his story.
But little Alice clasped the waxen doll closer to her bosom.
It made me very sorry to consider how good she was and how unworthy of her I was, and I used ardently to hope that I might have a better heart; and I talked it over very often with the dear old doll, but I never loved my godmother as I ought to have loved her and as I felt I must have loved her if I had been a better girl.
Boris on the contrary at once found his footing, and related quietly and humorously how he had know that doll Mimi when she was still quite a young lady, before her nose was broken; how she had aged during the five years he had known her, and how her head had cracked right across the skull.
The wax doll Queen spoke prettily to Dorothy and the others, and sent her loving greetings to Ozma before she retired to the rooms prepared for her.
You shall be a great lady, giving a grand dinner; and we will be two friends whom you have invited to dine with you; and the doll shall be the little girl who comes in after dinner, and has fruit at dessert
Now suppose, my dear, that I gave you a pretty doll in exchange for a lock of your hair, and that after you had received the doll you smashed it into pieces and destroyed it.
The famous little Becky Puppet has been pronounced to be uncommonly flexible in the joints, and lively on the wire; the Amelia Doll, though it has had a smaller circle of admirers, has yet been carved and dressed with the greatest care by the artist; the Dobbin Figure, though apparently clumsy, yet dances in a very amusing and natural manner; the Little Boys' Dance has been liked by some; and please to remark the richly dressed figure of the Wicked Nobleman, on which no expense has been spared, and which Old Nick will fetch away at the end of this singular performance.
But if the man were to come with the doll and sit before a man in love, and begin caressing his doll as the lover caressed the woman he loved, it would be distasteful to the lover.