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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).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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”).

The Dream Encyclopedia, Second Edition © 2009 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.


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.
Bedside Dream Dictionary by Silvana Amar Copyright © 2007 by Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
Collect stockings and other bits because with doll making you never know what strange things you will need.
Not surprisingly, Hakata-ningyo (Hakata art doll making), representing the best in Fukuokan craftsmanship, has a long and distinguished history.
Doll making has given new hope to women in the state who can now use their creativity to earn a livelihood.
10 April Doll Making Recycling -- Eye kohl container making
The workshop on 'Stone Carving, Doll Making and Mirror Work:
The workshop on 'Stone Carving, Doll Making and Mirror Work: Engagement with Artisans' has been organized by Lok Virsa in collaboration with Training wing of Federal Directorate of Education and Directorate General of Special Education.
Her two kids expressed excitement at the doll making corner, as they stood eagerly to learn the art of doll making.
ISLAMABAD -- National Institute of Folk and Traditional Heritage Lok Virsa has scheduled a week-long training programme of 'Stone Carving, Doll Making and Mirror Work' under its ongoing craft of the month series from May 16.
An exhibition of Artisans-at-work featuring master craftspeople in various craft areas such as truck art, mirror work, doll making, block printing, lacquer art, will demonstrate their skills for public at Heritage Museum on 13th and 14th August from 10 am to 6 pm.
The crafts on display are embroidery (including Multani, Bahawalpur, Hazara, Swat, Balochi and Sindhi embroidery) block printing, lacquer work, Khussa making, pottery, tie and dye, doll making, khaddar weaving, truck art, wood carving, wood work, papier mache, namda and gabba, metal work, Shawl weaving, zari work, motikari, traditional carpets, blue pottery, Ajrak, wax printing, stone work, wooden spoon making, pattu weaving and many others.
ISLAMABAD -- Lok Virsa has scheduled a 7-day training programme of 'Stone Carving, Doll Making and Mirror Work' under its ongoing craft of the month series from May 16.
The crafts selected for future programs include pottery making, weave, doll making, lacquer art, chunri making, stone carving, and others.