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Saturday Art: Tribal Dolls


worry dolls

In a previous post the beads used to decorate dolls and other items were featured.   Universally, dolls are a part of teaching and passing on culture.  Many are part of customs, and the above Worry Dolls, usually Guatemalan, are a variety that’s become widely familiar in southern and central American continent custom.

The worry doll is made out of traditional clothed figures, and is associated with easing children’s minds.   The legend has it that by placing a worry doll under the pillow and sleeping on it, worries and cares can be passed on and the child’s mind put at ease.

 Worry dolls (muñecas quitapenas), or trouble dolls, are very small and colorful dolls traditionally made in Guatemala.[1] A person (usually a child) who cannot sleep due to worrying can express their worries to a doll and place it under their pillow before going to sleep. Some medical centers use them in conjunction with treatment for disease in children.[2][3] According to folklore, the doll is thought to worry in the person’s place, thereby permitting the person to sleep peacefully. The person will wake up without their worries, which have been taken away by the dolls during the night. Parents may remove the doll during the night, reinforcing the child’s belief that the worry is gone. Some parents involve the child in making the dolls to further increase the psychological benefits of releasing worries, and instructions may be found online.

The dolls are found in clothing designs and framed for decorations, as well.

Dolls are made of all sorts of things, and the bones of Rhea, a large bird of South America, have been used as well.

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Ruth Calvo

Ruth Calvo

I've blogged at The Seminal for about two years, was at cabdrollery for around three. I live in N.TX., worked for Sen.Yarborough of TX after graduation from Wellesley, went on to receive award in playwriting, served on MD Arts Council after award, then managed a few campaigns in MD and served as assistant to a member of the MD House for several years, have worked in legal offices and written for magazines, now am retired but addicted to politics, and join gladly in promoting liberals and liberal policies.