Monday, November 12, 2007

Topsy Turvy Doll

The history and craft of this doll fascinates me. At first, I thought how un-politically correct the idea of this doll is. But after doing some research, I learned a lot more about it and can't wait to make one.

The Historical Folk Toys website has this to say about the black/white Topsy Turvy Doll:

The original Topsy-Turvy dolls were created before the Civil War in the Southern United States on plantations where slavery was prominent. Arguments arise as to whether the dolls were made for the slave children to play with or whether they were made for the white children who lived in the plantation house.

With one identity on one side and an opposite identity when flipped, slave children could have played with their prohibited black doll and then flipped it to the white doll when the master was around. Others believe that the double-ended dolls were made for white children with the black doll used as a maid for their other dolls.

Stephanie V. Siek writes that this doll "was a mirror or the African-American woman's life. She took care of white children, but had children of her own -- the white child is present when the black child is invisible, the black child is present when the white child is invisible."

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