Saturday, May 2, 2009

Santos Cage Dolls

On Thursday, I posted an image of an antique doll on a stand and Judith Thibeau of Studio Judith helped me identify what it was. This type of doll is called a Santos Cage Doll and is highly collectible.

Often found in Portuguese or Spanish communities, these dolls were used in Catholic religious processions and were often elaborately dressed in beautiful gowns and topped with golden crowns. These dolls would occupy a place of prominence in the home of a wealthy person or chapel. The cage could also be used as a sort of prayer shrine with objects placed inside the cage.

I am drawn to their spare and haunting elegance. After researching these dolls, I realized that the first one I purchased was likely a reproduction, but since I practically got her for free, I went back to the antique shop and bought the other one. I think the pair of them will be a new source of inspiration in my artistic practice. I might even have to create some elegant gowns for these lovely ladies.