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History Of China Doll Heads
China heads were occasionally made with blown-glass eyes; one at least had sleeping eyes that opened and shut, and a very few have swivel necks. Some, not many, have colored flowers and feathers in their hair. These dolls with fancy hair arrangements and unusual eyes are rare and therefore collectors' prizes. You are lucky if you find them, and they have considerable value.
China-head dolls were popular during most of the nineteenth century, especially after 1850., Consequently there are still a good many to collect and china heads are a happy hunting ground for present-day collectors. Another type much sought after is the "curly top" or Godey head with the hair in vertical pointed curls going straight back from the forehead and around the back. Sometimes the hair is so arranged in front, the curls running back to a black band and the hair flying loose on the neck. Mrs. Alma Hockaday owns such a head as this. The writer has the regular blonde Godey type in three-inch and sixinch sizes. Godey heads also come brunette.Then there is a type of black-haired china dollhead of the nineties that has straight bangs.
Early in the 1900s there appeared china heads with "jewel" necklaces of bits of colored glass embedded in a glaze. Some boy-heads were also made. From 1898, when a law was passed requiring foreign goods to indicate the country of origin, "name" heads marked "Germany" are to be found. These dolls, labeled in gold with girl's names like Helen or Ethel have collars molded in the china. "The commoner types, those with short hair similar to dolls seen in ten-cent stores today, are still imported to this country they were never made here, but are not now so popular with children as they were in the last half of the previous century.
Occasionally glared leads are found that were apparently made in the potteries of Dresden, Gerrnany, from which much fine china has come. These are usually marked on the back of the shoulder with an emblem of crossed swords in blue under the glaze. They are not to be confused with the unglazed Parian heads.
Usually china heads were closed at the top, but German heads imported into France are found with the back of the head cut out in the sarne way modern German-bisque play-dolls are cut. This was done because of the French law assessing custom duties by weight. The head was lightened by cutting out sections covered by the wig. Such china heads were sometimes glazed inside as well as out.
Negro china dolls were occasionally made, particularly small penny ones. Sometimes these have colorful draperies and are supposed to be Moors, but usually they are just little Negroes, looking for all the world like the licorice candybabies of our childhood.
Color is little used in the china heads beyond blonde or black hair, blue or brown eyes, and rosy cheeks, but the writer knows two small china blonde heads with chignons, one covered with a black net, the other with green, and both wearing lettuce-green ribbons across the front of the head.