Amah is approximately an 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.
Amah's head is skillfully and sensitively hand carved from pear wood and attached to a firmly stuffed cloth torso. Her hands are stumps, while her tiny pointed feet signify that they have been "bound." Amah's lovely, serenely carved head is delineated with fine coloring to her hair, brows, eyes, and mouth. Please notice her carved coiled hair bun embellished with a painted hairpin. Amah is dressed in traditional Chinese cotton costuming replete with apron. Please notice the Chinese script (?) on the underside of her apron. Her costuming sustains discoloration and some soil from age and storage. She remains in sturdy condition overall.
Amah is a historically and culturally significant treasure that preserves a way of life that is fast fading in contemporary society.