Uses, Appearances and Issues
Since ancient times, dolls have played a central role in magic and religious rituals, or used as representations of a deity. Dolls have also traditionally been toys for children. Dolls are also collected by adults, for their nostalgic value, beauty, historical importance or financial value. Antique dolls which were originally made as children's playthings have become collector's items. Nineteenth-century bisque dolls made by French manufacturers such as Bru and Jumeau may be worth almost $22,000 today.
Dolls have traditionally been made as crude, rudimentary playthings as well as with elaborate, artful design. They have been created as folk art in cultures around the globe, and in the 20th century, art dolls began to be seen as high art. Artist Hans Bellmer made surrealistic dolls that had interchangeable limbs in 1930s and 1940s Germany as opposition to the Nazi party's idolization of a perfect Aryan body. East Village artist Greer Lankton became famous in the 1980s for her theatrical window displays of drug addicted, anorexic and mutant dolls.
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.
In Western society, a gender difference in the selection of toys has been observed and studied. Action figures that represent traditional masculine traits are popular with boys, who are more likely to choose toys that have some link to tools, transportation, garages, machines and military equipment. Dolls for girls tend to represent feminine traits and come with such accessories as clothing, kitchen appliances, utensils, furniture and jewelry.
Pediophobia is a fear of dolls or similar objects. Psychologist Ernst Jentsch theorized that uncanny feelings arise when there is an intellectual uncertainty about whether an object is alive or not. Sigmund Freud further developed on these theories. Japanese roboticist Masahiro Mori expanded on these theories to develop the uncanny valley hypothesis. If an object is obviously enough non-human, its human characteristics will stand out, and be endearing. However, if that object reaches a certain threshold of human-like appearance, its non-human characteristics will stand out, and be disturbing.
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Famous quotes containing the words appearances and/or issues:
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—François, Duc De La Rochefoucauld (16131680)
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