1900 NAVAJO INDIAN MADE LEATHER CLOTH DOLL

Native American

Native American

A wonderful example of early 1900’s Native American doll. It is all handmade of cloth and leather.   Many of these dolls were sold early tourist trade late 1800’s to current day.   The Native American Indians master the craft of using natural resources to provide for a source of income and trading. However, the idea of a child’s doll as a lasting keepsake is not really traditional in a lot of Indian tribes. Dolls were usually made of perishable materials like cornhusk, palmetto fiber, or bundled pine needles; even dolls that were made out of wood or leather were not often built to last the way adult crafts were. In many tribes it was considered inappropriate to discipline a very young child, so they simply weren’t given toys they weren’t allowed to chew on and throw in the river. And in some tribes, the impermanence of children’s dolls and toys was meaningful to parents– as corn dolls and other childhood things naturally fell apart with time, it showed that a girl was growing up. Even though Native American dolls were not traditionally made to last, they were often beautifully adorned with miniature doll clothing and jewelry, beadwork or painting, and animal fur or even hair from the mother’s head. Because native adornment and decorative patterns are so distinctive, handmade Indian dolls are distinctive as well, and today many people, adults and children alike, like to keep them as cultural collectibles as well as toys.

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