NATIVE AMERICAN ANTIQUE
thru May 14, 2018
The oldest human toys apparently are dolls. It has been suggested that the use of dolls is one of the distinguishing characteristics between Neanderthal man and Homo Sapiens. The combination of being both a plaything and a teaching device have made dolls and toy cradles a favorite among children and parents for literally thousands of years.
John Molloy Gallery is pleased to present Native American Toy Cradles, a sale and exhibition of a selection of 19th century and early 20th century examples.
One of the delights of this show of toy cradles is the diversity of design, even within a single tribe.
The stark, black and white geometry of the oldest example here, belies its modernism. This example, which measures about 13” in length, comes from the Warm Springs people in North Central Oregon (see below). It dates to about 1860. There is a simply drawn face on the cloth doll. Similarly, there is a simply drawn face on the Kiowa Comanche example. This has a more defined doll than the other, as there is hair added to the doll. The patina on the boards here indicate years of loving use. The restrained use of the beadwork to form the geometric designs and the subtle use of color with the ochre painted hide body testify to the careful artistry of the maker. This is contrasted by the fully beaded and multi-colored Nez Perce example. Each of the Ute examples is a study in restraint and use of color.
All of these are objects of love - made with love by mothers, grandmothers and aunts for children to play with and treasured by their original owners for their babies! It is an essential appeal of antique objects that the craftsmanship and care used in the making more than one hundred years before continue to be valued and even cherished in the current age, often an ethos or more removed from the original circumstances. It is when these essential characteristics shine through the generations and boundaries of culture that we can appreciate the value in what is shared.
The show will be on view at the gallery until May 14.
Contact John Molloy Gallery for prices.
Read the essay TOY CRADLES FROM THE PLAINS & PLATEAU ->
Read the essay
TOY CRADLES FROM THE PLAINS & PLATEAU ->