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Where Did Rag Dolls Come From?

origin of rag dolls

Rag dolls are some of the oldest existing childrenís toys. They are traditionally homemade and stuffed with scraps of materials. In the earliest times, rag dolls were made from corn husks or cloth scraps. As civilization continued and with the rise in technology, rag dolls were finally modernized and made out of stockinette, velvet and felt.

A Brief History

It was during the 1830s that rag dolls were mass-produced. It was at this year where coloured printing for fabrics was developed. However, dating back around the 1st-5th AD, the first Roman rag doll was found in a childís grave. It is currently displayed at The British Museum, the first public national museum in the world. Located in the Bloomsbury area of London in the UK, it also houses a majestic 8 million permanent works ranging from human history to art and culture.

In the past, rag dolls were used to teach children to develop some nurturing skills such as sewing. Children were even encouraged to sew simple dolls back then including the dollís clothes.

During the colonial era up to the 20th century, American children, no matter the status, played with rag dolls made out of rags or cornhusks. The first rag doll ever produced commercially was the Raggedy Ann doll. It appeared in the 1918 book by Johnny Gruelle. In 1920, Raggedy Annís brother, Raggedy Andy was introduced.

Some rag dolls character sprung to life in popular culture. Lilo, from the Lilo and Stitch franchise, owns a rag doll whom she named Scrump. Other characters such as Sally from The Nightmare Before Christmas also came to life as a rag doll.

Types of Rag Dolls

There were even different types of rag dolls such as the Amish, Mexican and the commercially produced Raggedy Ann.

The Amish rag dolls were made popularly made without facial expressions. It is because it was to emphasize that all are alike in the eyes of God. But some Amish dolls have faces too. These dolls originated as childrenís toys among Old Order Amish people.

The fabrics of the Amish rag dollsí clothes were pretty solid in colour. The body of these dolls are made from white fabric like unbleached muslin. They are even stuffed with traditionally rags or cotton. Amish rag dolls were then hand sewn or machine sewn. Since Amish children do not have plenty of toys, both boys and girls can play with the rag dolls.

On the other hand, Mexican rag dolls or commonly called Marias or MuŮecas de trapo were common among the Mexicanís indigenous populations. They were often made from used clothing that had been worn by members of the family and sewn by grandmothers and mothers. The most traditional filling stuffed in Mexican rag dolls were from a local fibre called guata.

Benefits Of Playing With Rag Dolls

Rag dolls were also used as comfort objects. They provide psychological comfort especially for children at bedtime. In other forms, a comfort object may also be a security blanket or a stuffed animal.

Nowadays, many experts acknowledge the role dolls such as rag dolls in a childís development. Children can acquire and develop a lot of skills such as emotional and social skills. It is through pretend-play with dolls that children can express themselves through communication. Other skills such as the fine-motor and cognitive skills are also developed which helps in making a well-rounded and developed child.

Ragdolls To Love

Rag dolls provide so many wonderful benefits in developing and honing a child. These dolls have made children develop self-confidence and taught them more about building friendships, communication and responsibility.

Itís not that hard to find rag dolls nowadays. If you are having trouble looking for one check out Rubens Barn Ecobuds and Mini Ecobuds dolls. They are made and certified with Organic Content Standard (OCS) and free from hazardous components. Characters include, Poppy, Iris, Fern, Lily and many more!

Bigjigs have also conceptualized fantastic and gorgeous ranges of rag dolls. These dolls have pretty things in common: bunched hair and colourful tunics. We love these dolls as they come in small, medium and large. Weíd like you to meet some of the characters such as Melody, Emma, Daisy and Nurse Nancy.


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