Early 11.5" Door of Hope Table Boy Wooden Character Missions Doll China 1920s - image 1 of 16

Table Boy is approximately a 11 1/2" Door of Hope wooden benefit doll that was handcrafted in Shanghai, China, circa the 1920s-1940s, and perhaps as early as 1910. Missionaries in China founded the Door of Hope Mission in 1901 to safely house and educate destitute young girls by teaching them skills and by instilling in them hope for better futures. The girls were taught to meticulously knit, sew, and embroider traditional Chinese costuming for the Door of Hope dolls and encouraged at the same time to appreciate and take pride in their own cultural heritage. The dolls' heads were carved by local craftsmen in Ning-Po.

Table Boy's head is skillfully and sensitively hand carved from pear wood and attached to a firmly stuffed cloth torso. His arms are stumps, while his legs are formed from stuffed cloth and detailed with black satin slippers. His serenely carved head (light soil/scuff line) is further delineated with fine coloring to his brows, eyes, and mouth. The back of his head is painted in the form of a black oval with an opening for his queue. His queue has deteriorated, though strands of it poke above his collar. I have not removed his clothing to determine if more of the queue is "in hiding." Table Boy is dressed in traditional Chinese costuming that includes his blue cotton gown (discolored and soiled), a black satin vest with lined cut-outs, and undergarments. He remains in sturdy condition overall. I believe that he is the Table Boy due to his size and his more ornate black satin vest with lined cut-outs.

Table Boy is a historically and culturally significant treasure that preserves a way of life that is fast fading in contemporary society.


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Early 11.5" Door of Hope Table Boy Wooden Character Missions Doll China 1920s

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