Anita Jo Intenzo
     Entrepreneur, PAST IMAGES BY

China Dolls and Parians

China Dolls and Parians
Now we come to the first type of antique doll that is widely known among non-doll collectors: the China doll and her close cousin, the more rare Parian.  The china doll had her heyday between 1840 and 1880, before bisque dolls became preferred by children and although china dolls were still mass produced as late as the 1920's. 

China dolls have heads of glazed porcelain and parians have heads of unglazed porcelain, and the majority were produced in German from 1850 on.  China dolls are often identified by their hairstyles - what was fashionable at a certain time - be it a covered wagon style (hair flat on top with sausage curls around the head, 1840's), an Alice in Wonderland (molded head band, 1850's) or the Dolly Madison (curls all over and a molded ribbon).  Most china dolls represented ladies and were fashionably dressed in up-do-date fashions.  After about 1880, china heads were often sold separately, leaving the doll owner to make her own doll body and costume.

The more elaborate the hairstyle and decoration on a china or parian doll, generally the higher value.  Prices range from about $300 for a common 1860's Highland Mary to several thousand for a rare elaborately decorated parian with a swivel head and glass eyes.

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