Back in the mid XX century, almost at every family – in the village and in the city – the children played with a rag doll. And only in the 1960s, when the industry began to produce millions of toys made of plastic, the tradition of making rag dolls almost extinct. However, it has not disappeared completely, stuck in people’s minds.
Doll is a sign of a person, his or her image-symbol. In this role, it focuses time, cultural history, the history of the country, the people, reflecting their movement and development.
It was rag doll which carries the memory of culture and makes it much brighter, wider and deeper than any other toy (clay or wood). Relative humanoid figure once served as a magical role, as a talisman. It participated in the rituals and festivals, ritual events of the circle of mortal life, marking the birth, marriage, coming to the ancestors.
Rag doll is a toy with valuable educational qualities, that are recognized and cultivated in ethnopedagogics, in the practical work with children. This is an excellent model for studies on needlework, art work and creativity, arts and crafts, and textile design.
This versatile toy has a spiritual content – here lies the appeal of the patchwork doll. Puppet folk keep the skill and art of their creators, the work of folklorists, collectors and scientists. The doll is displayed the chronicle of the culture life, unfading memory of the folk. And everyone who makes rag dolls, get his own “patchwork story.”
Amazing similarity, likeness of dolls in different nations. They are united not only by the origin (game dolls everywhere were emerged from ritual, came out of the ritual), but also the universal ideas and values: the continuity of kinship, nepotism and parental care, at the worship of ancestors.
Handmade toy served for our ancestors as a kind of generic ethnic code, which was indicated landmarks of life. Considering the old dolls, we notice how they appear in the chain of hidden characters typical for the mythological consciousness of the peasant, for the folk culture.
Therefore, in the manufacture of traditional rag dolls it was not an accident – there was some certain sense. As a rule, rag dolls were simple images of a female figure: a piece of cloth, folded in a rolling pin, carefully covered with white linen rag face, chest of smooth rag balls, spit and homely or festive peasant dress from the flap.
The most common puppet costumes were sewn from scraps of fabric purchase – red calico and sateen, chintz and calico. They, in contrast to the homespun, until the beginning of the XX century were expensive for the village and were intended for the festive clothing. The remaining crop was stored in bags, kept for toys. But at the time of the dollmastering, scraps were chosen carefully. Red rags were especially valued; they were for the most beautiful dolls. Red color has long served as a talisman, a symbol of life and the productive forces of nature.