Start free trial

Home > News, Articles & Multimedia > Blog Entry > Doll Terminology

Doll Terminology

by Laurie McGill (10/06/08).
Jan Foulke's 12th Blue Book of Dolls & Values

Doll Terminology

By Laurie McGill

The following is a list of frequently used doll terms, based in part on the Glossary, published by the United Federation of Doll Clubs in 1978, and Jan Foulke’s 12th Blue Book of Dolls & Values, published by Hobby House Press, Inc.

All-Bisque: a miniature doll, typically under 12 inches, made entirely of bisque.

Applied Ears: ears made from a separate mold & attached to the head.

Antique: approximately 100 years old & older (antique dolls—generally made prior to 1930)

Apollo Knot: a type of hairdo sometimes found on German papier-mâché dolls

Articulated Body: a composition, wood, or papier-mâché body which has segmented limbs (and sometimes torso) which allows for movement; body may or may not have ball-joints

Automata: French term for a mechanical doll

Bald Head: typically a bisque head with no crown opening, can have a wig

Ball-Jointed Body: a composition body with round (sometimes loose) ball joints at the shoulders, elbows, hips, and knees, usually found on German dolls

Bebe: French term for a child doll

Belton-Type: refers to a solid dome bisque head with one, two or three small holes, probably for stringing

Bent-Limb Body: composition baby body comprised of five pieces with all four limbs curved

Biedimier: term sometimes used to describe a solid dome china head doll

Bisque: doll head made of unglazed porcelain, usually tinted with a matte surface

Boudoir Doll: long-limbed doll with a cloth body

Carton Moule: French term for papier-mâché Character Doll typically a bisque head doll with a realistic and lifelike face, can represent a child or adult, French or German in origin

Child Doll: usually refers to a German bisque head doll with typical “dolly face”

China Doll: head made of glazed porcelain with a shiny translucent surface

Chip: a small missing piece of porcelain on a bisque or china head doll, considered a minor damage

Cloth Doll: a doll made entirely of cloth or fabric, sometimes called Rag Dolls

Collectible Dolls: dolls made approximately 25-75 years ago

Composition Dolls: dolls made primarily or entirely of a paper or wood pulp mixture, can include papier-mâché dolls

Contemporary Clothes: clothing that did not belong to the doll originally but made either commercially or at home around the same time as the manufacture of the doll

Crèche figure: technically not a doll, but rather a figure originally displayed in nativity scene

DEP: abbreviation used on German & French dolls claiming registration

Doll: a child’s plaything in human form, jointed or unjointed

Dolly Face: term typically referring to a German bisque head doll with open mouth and eyes that open and close

Fashion Doll: doll representing an adult lady (or sometimes an older child or man) with a bisque head & dressed in fashionable attire or a regional costume, usually French

Fixed Eyes: glass eyes that do not move or sleep

Flake: a very small chip, often visible only under magnification, on a bisque or china head doll, considered a very minor damage

Flirty Eyes: glass eyes which move from side to side as the doll head is tilted

Flange Neck: when the bottom of the head piece and the top of the shoulder piece fit together with a flat surface, typically appearing on a bisque head doll

Fortune Telling Doll: doll with paper fortunes written on the segments of its skirt

French Doll: a doll who’s head was made in France or for a French firm

Frozen Charlotte: an unjointed doll generally made of bisque or china, but occasionally made of other materials, typical small in size

German Doll: a doll who’s head was made in Germany or for a German firm

Googly Eyes: large round side-glancing eyes, can be painted or glass

Gutta Percha: a synthetic doll making compound used for bodies, similar to rubber

Half Doll: a doll bust, including torso, head, and arms, often used on a pincushion base

Hairline Crack: a significant damage to a bisque or china head doll, this crack appears as thin as a strand of hair and is often difficult to see without lighting the head, hairline cracks show all the way through the porcelain, on both the inside & outside of the head

Inserted Hair: hair that is inserted into the scalp of the doll, typically found on poured wax dolls

Intaglio eyes: Painted eyes with an impressed, incised or sunken pupil & iris , typically found on Gebruder Heubach dolls

Joel Ellis Doll: wooden doll made in Springfield, VT around 1873

Kewpies: dolls and figurines made after the copyrighted designs of Rose O’Neill, typically made of bisque, small in size, with jointed arms and molded blue wings

Kid Body: all or the majority of the body is made from kid leather

Layette: a wardrobe for a baby doll

London Rag: a baby doll with a mask face made of wax covered with a thin layer of cloth

Mechanical Doll: a doll that can move by means of a mechanism, sometimes producing sound as well

Milliners’ Model: a term used to describe a specific type of German molded hair papier-mâché doll with slender leather body and wooden lower limbs; these dolls did not actually model hats

Mohair: material typically used for doll wigs made from goat’s hair

Motschman-Type Body: a body with a cloth midsection with the pelvic region, lower arms, and legs made from a different material (typically papier-mâché, composition, china, or bisque), usually with a squeak box in the cloth section of the body

Multi-Face Doll: doll having two or more faces on the same head, or with additional mask faces

Multi-Head Doll: doll with two or more heads, either attached to the same body (like with a Tospy Turvy) or interchangeable

Oily Bisque: a desirable, dewy or oily sheen or glow that some matt finish bisque head dolls exhibit; not to be confused with the shiny over glaze that characterizes china head dolls

Open Mouth: a mouth that has a cut opening between the lips, often with teeth showing and usually found on bisque head dolls

Open-Closed Mouth: a mouth with parted lips but no real opening cut into the head

Original Clothes: the very first clothes worn by a specific doll, either commercially made and original from the factory, or homemade and original from the family

Paper Dolls: dolls made entirely of paper, either two dimensional or three dimensional, with changeable clothes also usually also made of paper

Paperweight Eyes: blown glass eyes with are set and bulge from the eye socket, often found on French dolls

Papier-mâché Doll: a doll with a head made of papier-mâché, which is a form of composition, usually made by pressing paper pulp into a mold

Parian Doll: a term used for dolls made of untinted bisque, typically (but not always) with molded hair and painted eyes

Parisienne: a term coined by Jumeau to refer to fashion or lady dolls associated with Paris

Peddler Doll: doll dressed to represent a peddler carrying wares

Peg Wooden Doll: doll made entirely of wood with mortise and tenon peg joints, the wood may be carved or turned, with painted features and hair, often with a yellow tuck comb

Period Clothes: clothing that was produced during the same general time period as the doll wearing it

Pink Bisque: bisque which is pre-tinted pink, circa 1920′s

Poupee: a French term for a fashion or lady doll

Poured Wax Doll: a doll with a head made from pouring wax into a mold

Provenance: the identification of a doll’s origin or family and ownership history

Repainting: applying new paint or finish over the original surface paint/finish, either on a composition body or a composition, papier-mâché, wood, or cloth head

Restored Doll: a doll that has been repaired and which may have replaced parts

Set Eyes: glass eyes which are stationary

Shoulderhead: The head and shoulders are made of the same material and from one mold

Sleep Eyes: glass eyes that open and close, typically (but not exclusively) found with German bisque heads

Slit Head: a term which refers to a doll with a slit where hair is inserted in the top of the head, typically found on wax-over dolls

Socket Head: a head where the attached rounded bottom neck area fits into a socket at the top of the shoulders on the body, typically found with bisque head dolls

Stone Bisque: coarse white untinted (often poor quality) bisque

Toddler Body: chubby composition body with shorter thighs and often diagonal hip joints, sometimes with curved unjointed arms and sometimes completely unjointed, but usually fully jointed including elbows and wrists

Topsy Turvy: a doll with two heads attached to opposite ends of the same torso, one head is typically concealed by a dress when not in use

Tuck Comb: a molded, often yellow hair comb located on the center part of the head of a papier-mâché or carved wooden doll; term is also used to refer to the entire doll which has this hair decoration

Wax-Over Doll: a doll made of composition or papier-mâché (and sometimes other materials) that has been dipped in wax

Wig Pulls: tiny chips around the rim of a bisque head doll, caused from glue adhering to the head when the wig was removed

Want a picture icon with your comment? Sign up with Gravatar to get one, or connect with your Facebook or Twitter account.

Looking for even more discussion? Check out the WorthPoint Forums.

Leave a Reply

Connect with Facebook