Yokohama Doll Museum
  Collection
top page
Collection
World Dolls

Starting with a collection of 3,149 dolls from 92 countries, the collection has been enriched over the years and now stands at 12,926 dolls from 140 countries. (As of March 31, 2004) We have many historically valuable dolls.
Number of dolls
Japanese dolls
7,577
World dolls
5,349

World Dolls

It is said the history of dolls dates back to the birth of mankind itself. For people in ancient times, dolls played an important part as good luck charms to bring good harvests, safe childbirth, and avoid misfortune. Doll making techniques differ from place to place and time to time. From simple beginnings using stones, soil, wood and cloth, to more advanced methods using papier mache(pulp, gelatin and lime) , wax, china, celluloid plastic and vinyl chloride, all these materials have been used to make dolls. About 850 dolls made by traditional methods from 140 countries are displayed in five different zones categorized by their relation to peoples' daily activities. You can appreciate the differences in each country's customs, manners and lifestyles in a wonderful atmosphere.

World Dolls Image Photo

Wooden Dolls

Since ancient times, wood has been widely used to make dolls because it's readily available and easy to work with. Wood has played an important role from its use in religious matters and children's play to appreciation of its beauty and for cuddling. Especially in 16th to 18th century-Europe, many wooden dolls were made, mainly in Britain, representing the latest fashions of the time. The head was carved in wood and was made up in the latest makeup. The main purpose of these dolls was to show the latest fashions of the age.

Wooden Dolls
Wooden Doll


Wax Dolls

Wax started to be used to make dolls for religious purposes as an aid to prayer, and baby dolls made of wax were used in baptisms. In the 19th and 20th centuries, mainly in Britain, wax dolls were first produced for nonreligious purposes. Because of the translucent glossy nature of the wax, and its malleability, realistic looking dolls could be produced.

Wax Dolls
Wax Doll


Papier-mache Dolls

Dolls with a head made of paper clay materials (pulp, gelatin, and lime). In a broad sense, they are in the same family as "Composition Dolls". They were produced in the early stages of doll making and have a simple touch. These dolls were produced mainly in Germany. Some of them are similar to China Dolls. Clay materials were used for heads of fashion dolls and automatons. The dolls were named after "Papier-mache" which means mashed paper clay in French.




Papier-mache Dolls
Papier-mache Doll


China Dolls

Japan and China introduced porcelain techniques to Europe, where its beauty was deeply admired. "China" now represents porcelain itself. China Dolls were made in the 19th century, mainly in Germany using white porcelain techniques, and many of them were exported to the United States. In those days, it was common to purchase only the head, arms, and legs and then make the body and clothes at home. They are sometimes referred to as "Glazed China Dolls".



China Dolls
China Doll


Bisque Dolls

Bisque means "baking twice" in French and has the same origin as biscuits. First, a formed head is baked at a high temperature and colored. Then, it is baked again at a low temperature so that the glaze does not melt. These dolls were mainly produced in France and Germany in the middle of the 19th century. Today they are regarded as a synonym for "antique dolls of the West". The frosted touch similar to human skin and their glass eyes made with paperweight techniques are very attractive.



Bisque Dolls
Bisque Doll


Cloth Dolls

These are dolls made of cloth, varying from simple hand-made dolls to ones produced using the highest techniques such as oil colors or a molded and pressed mask. Especially, in the 20th century, there were many unique and creative dolls showing the individual characteristics of producers and studios. The dolls for playing hand games and cuddling are called "Rag Dolls".


Cloth Dolls
Cloth Doll


Composition Dolls

These dolls made of a sawdust and paper compound were produced in mass because of the reasonable price and their durability as children's playing and cuddling dolls. Especially the ones mainly produced in the United States when the doll industry declined in Germany and France due to the First World War were called "Hard Composition Dolls" and a variety of character dolls were made.


Composition Dolls
Composition Dolls


Celluloid Dolls

After about 1900, celluloid, made from nitrated cellulose and camphor, was used to make dolls because it was light, inexpensive, and easy-to-color. These dolls were produced in large quantities until the 1950s in Germany, France and Britain. They were also mass produced in Japan during the Taisho era and early-Showa era for exportation. Because of their drawback of being combustible, incombustible ones were developed and took their place, but they fell into decline afterward.



Celluloid Dolls
Celluloid Dolls


Plastic Dolls

Plastic means "something that can be formed" in Latin and Greek. From early times people have tried to produce light molding materials from natural materials such as lacquer, pine resin, wax, and amber. Today, plastic is a synthetic resin made of artificial materials with many types and production methods. Celluloid, polyvinyl chloride resin, and polyethylene are generically called plastics. After the Second World War, the doll and toy industry industrialized to exploit mass production. Now plastic is used for dolls all around the world. Every manufacturer designs their own characters, has them produced in Asian countries, and sells them in large quantities across the globe.

Plastic Dolls
Plastic Dolls


Stuffed Animals and Dolls

From early times, stuffed animals and dolls were made by hand sewing pieces of cloth together and stuffing them at home as a safe toy for infants. They were first produced for the open market by Steiff Company in Germany around the turn of the 20th century. Stuffed bears called "Teddy Bears" are especially still very popular around the world.

Stuffed Animals and Dolls
Stuffed Animals and Dolls


Doll Houses

Miniature doll houses were first produced from the 16th century mainly in Germany and Holland, and became popular in the middle of the 19th century. Standard specification is one-twelfth scale. (The unit cut down into inches from feet.) Some are Aristocrats' luxuries decorated with furniture and furnishings collected over many generations, and some are for educational purposes. Nowadays , an increasing number of people enjoy making miniature houses as a hobby.

Doll Houses
Doll House's Kitchen


Folk Dolls

A group of people who share a common language, religion, culture and tribalism formed over a long period of time are called a race. Folk dolls adorned in folk costumes represent ethnic festivals, manners, and customs. The world has many ethnic groups: some of them produce dolls but others do not due to religious reasons. Nowadays, many countries produce souvenir dolls, and from these we can learn different lifestyles by taking a look at these folk dolls.

Folk Dolls
Folk Dolls

back back to home

(C)Yokohama Convention & Visitors Bureau all rights reserved