Collecting DollsA doll is a child's toy that represents a baby or other human being, but includes likenesses of animals and imaginary creatures. Dolls have been around since the dawn of human civilization, and have been fashioned from a vast array of materials, ranging from stone, clay, wood, bone, cloth and paper, to porcelain, china, rubber and plastic.
While dolls have traditionally been toys for children, they are also collected by adults, for their nostalgic value, beauty, historical importance or financial value. In ancient times, dolls were used as representations of a deity, and played a central role in religious ceremonies and rituals. Lifelike or anatomically correct dolls are used by health professionals, medical schools and social workers to train doctors and nurses in various health procedures or investigate cases of sexual abuse of children. Artists sometimes use jointed wooden mannequins in drawing the human figure. Action figures representing superheroes and their predecessors, action dolls, are particularly popular among boys. Baby dolls, paper dolls, talking dolls, fashion dolls - the list is almost endless.
Archaeological evidence places dolls as foremost candidate for oldest known toy, having been found in Egyptian tombs which date to as early as 2000 BC. In Egypt, as well as Greece and Rome, it was common to find them in the graves of children. Most were made of wood, although pottery dolls were buried with children from wealthier families. Dolls with movable limbs and removable clothing date back to 600 BCE. Europe later became the center of dollmaking. In the United States, dollmaking became an industry in the 1860s, after the Civil War.
Dolls over the ages have been made from every conceivable material: bisque, celluloid, china, clay, cloth, corn husks paper, plastic, polymer clay, porcelain, resin, rubber, vinyl, wax wood, bone, ivory, papier-mâché, leather and more.