Saturday, December 08, 2007

Effigy Dolls: Concepción

“As the world grew cold and grey, it was once feared that the sun was approaching the end of its life. It was at the time of the winter Solstice or Brumalia (Dec 25th according to the Julian calendar) that Saturnus, the god of seed and sowing, was honored with a festival called Saturnalia. At the temple of Saturn a sacrifice was made to placate the gods and to ensure that the great light of the heavens would be reborn. Humans were once sacrificed to the god, but as society evolved, a goat or a pig was donated for the occasion. The woolen bonds which fettered the feet of the statue were loosened to symbolize the liberation of the god. After the religious rites were performed the crowds were dismissed with the proclamation: “Io, Saturnalia!” trumpeting the beginning of the joyous festivities. Crowds filled the streets, Romans paraded singing “unto us a child is born this day” Stalls laden with presents lined the streets near the Forum, but the great present of the season was the doll, of wax or terracotta. Hundreds of thousands of these dolls were on sale or held in the arms of passers by. Gone was a time when human beings were sacrificed to Saturn, the god or his priests had to be content with effigies of men or maids-dolls!” source material
I was at a goodwill store and saw this ugly doll and tossed it back on the shelf, but THEN it occurred to me that once a child had loved this doll and in some way it had a weird charm. It was made in China so there must be thousands of them somewhere in this world. I bought it and had it sitting on the shelf for months. I was invited to participate in a winter solstice show a couple of years ago and this doll just seemed to shout at me from the shelf.. So I spray painted the doll white and added charms that had symbolic meaning and built a box to display it.


Colette Amelia said...

Whoa! that is one scary doll! Something out of a King novel. But I guess it does a good representation of the scary and depressing feelings that permeate the season.

Interesting how much of your art scares me, now what does that say?

HMBT said...

Creepy cool. I like the way she makes me want to run and come closer for a better look. many times Your work does make me look at the darker side of things, which I really enjoy. Loved the background, now I want to learn more about that!

Anonymous said...

Interesting post. I liked the ugly doll made in China. I wonder what has happened to the people who made it.

Jafabrit said...

She is kind of creepy colette, hmbt, I found her face fascinating. I kept wondering why they made her face that way. Yes too other questions lincoln, about the age and history of this mass produced doll.

I should do a post on a finger bone I got from china, that really really got my brain into overload.

dinahmow said...

Ugliness is all a matter of personal vision, isn't it? All such baby dolls give me the creeps, but the more "primitive" effigies don't bother me a bit.
Yes, let's see the finger bone, please.

dinahmow said...

Me again...go to
http:// and check the great monster dolls.

L.M.Noonan said...

Years ago -when I was represented by a gallery- I overhead some visitors to my exhibition complaining to my dealer. They asked how he could exibit such scary paintings...he said the only art he found scary was badly made and that clearly mine was not. I felt good that day. But I have had too many 'downer' comments since to make up for this one. I've always walked the 'dark' side jafabrit.
I really like the contrast between the doll and her 'clean' contemporary frame.
PS Thanks for the plug a couple of posts ago