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by Archaeology Newsroom

The Egyptian Dolls of the Benaki Museum

The article deals with the archaeological Coptic “doll” of Egypt. The dressed dolls in the collection of the Benaki Museum lead to certain conclusions as regards the crafting and use of such an archaeological object. Apart from dolls made entirely of cloth, the bone idols that have been preserved in a large number testify that they belong to a more luxurious type of dressed doll The persons portrayed are female youths, in the representation of which painting plays the major role, denoting the details and the embellishment of the body. Although they have been made by professional craftsmen, the formation of the garments -sewn and assembled from reused parts of textiles- was decided by children. A grown-up could very well intervene in the making of an attire, however, a part of the relevant procedure was entirely performed by children. The type of the “bodiless” figurine, where a small bone plaque was wrapped in a cocoon of staffed material, probably derives from the Roman limbless dolls.