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.

Leave a Reply