The Doll's Coffin
We have found documented proof that the Doll's Coffin was used particularly by Slave Children but we have found others mentioning it was often used by the white children as well in the Deep South during those times. This of course does make sense as the children of the slave and master often played together until the day that they became a slave and suddenly in one day their whole status might change. We can document it's use for slave children but we caution mentioning it's use among other children until further actual documented proof is found. In fact the doll's coffin was the most asked for toy by slave girls after dolls themselves. (Note Ref. "The Play of Slave Children" available in the book "Growing up in America. Children in Historical Perspective" by David Wiggins.) Also, Please See Note Under Heading - "Girls and Dolls".
The dolls of course would generally be corn husk dolls, rag dolls, or other types of dolls that could generally be made easily. Re-enactments of funerals of other children are mentioned in documentation, and we believe that dolls were actually temporarily buried and then dug up but this documentation is also far from complete. (Please realize that if documentation shows otherwise, we too often take one or two cases to show that everyone did it that way. It is probably almost certain that some were buried and dug up again, and probably some would even be left over night and maybe even be lost in the process.)
We can speculate that this comes from the number of children dying in these times. Slave and post slave era children were of course particularly vulnerable to diseases and poor health due to poor nutrition so their death rate would be very high, so we can speculate that this is where the use of the doll's coffin comes from. Note also that in the Flemish Brueghel street painting that there is a funeral parade where the kids are actually acting out the burial of a classmate! Note the body of the child. (Likely a doll of some sort hidden under the blue blanket.) Many sites mention this as a Baptismal parade but there is little doubt that this is a funeral parade. The reason is that if you look closely at the blanket and the pattern, you will see that the child's head is totally covered. If it was a baptism, then the head would not be covered. However, we do concede that there is some debate on this issue.
Note Enlargement of the Photograph
of the Flemish Brueghel Painting.
Please note that the wood in this is very thin and thus requires use of modern power nailer to make it for a reasonable price. However, this combination of such nails and thin wood makes it unsuitable for use with young children without proper supervision, and you should be prepared to mention such if you wish to use it for museum demonstration. Also this product is definitely made very rough to look like it came from the old "Slave era" with joints slightly off, etc. So please realize that it is made that way to look authentic. This is not errors in construction. The thin wood of course would have come from wood from items like the bottoms of old drawers thrown out by the master and his wife. Thin wood was generally not available in those times due to the difficulties of cutting it, drying it, and keeping it from warping and bowing. So poor slaves would not have easy access to it other than as "Used" material.
The Doll's Coffin
Interior Length - Approximately 28.5 cm. (i.e max doll length.)
Can be ordered in larger sizes but ordering such requires very long lead times.
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