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Why are dolls called dolls?

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Why are dolls called dolls?

Looking back at history

Girls have played with dolls for thousands of years. Pottery dolls were first found in ancient Egyptian tombs, and later girls in ancient Greece played with dolls made of baked clay or wood. Some of them have movable limbs. However, when Greek girls grew up, they dedicated their dolls to the goddess. Roman girls did the same thing.

In the Middle Ages, girls also played with dolls. German woodcuts from the 15th century illustrate the working process of a doll maker. In the 16th century, wooden dolls wearing miniature clothes remained popular toys.

The first doll's house was made in Germany in 1558, for Duke Albrecht V of Bavaria. Dollhouses were popular among the wealthy during the 17th and 18th centuries. However, dollhouses at that time were not yet toys. Rather, they are for show.

However, in the 17th and 18th centuries, girls continued to play with wooden or rag dolls. Wax dolls are also popular. At that time they were called toy babies and the dollhouses were called baby houses. However, by the 18th century, they were called dolls. (Doll was originally short for Dorothy).


modern doll

With industrialization in the 19th century, dolls began to be mass-produced. Ragdolls were still made from wooden and wax dolls, but in the 19th century dolls were often made from papier mache or ceramic. Starting in 1863, dolls were sometimes made of celluloid (a type of plastic). In the 19th century, dollhouses became toys for children to play with.

Meanwhile, Johann Maelzel made the first talking doll in 1823. They say "Mom" and "Dad". At the end of the 19th century, people made doll strollers. Kewpie dolls were introduced in 1912.

After World War II, dolls were often made of vinyl. Barbie was invented in 1959 and Action Man was launched in the UK in 1966. The Dunster Doll Museum opened in 1971.


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