Title / object name
|Maker ||Role ||Date |
|Murray, Bessie ||manufacturer(s) ||1935 |
cotton, wool, silk, feather, linen, glass
|Overall ||265 (Height) x 85 (Length) x 85 (Width/Depth) mm|
dolls, doll accessories
This doll is known as a mother-and-child doll. It was made by Taihape widow Bessie Murray for sale in local drapery stores and tourist outlets in the mid and lower North Island to support her family in the late 1920s and 1930s.
The doll has delicately painted features, moko (facial tattoos), woollen hair, and finely stitched head, arms, and body. She is dressed in a silk skirt and woollen shawl. A flax kete (bag) is carefully replicated through the use of unbleached linen worked with black woollen yarn. The hei tiki (pendant) and ear pendants are made from tiny glass beads. A wide-awake baby is tucked into her shawl.
Murray registered two of her designs at the Patents Office in 1927 and 1931. The registration information is found on the base of the cylindrical fabric body.
She based the doll on carefully recorded sketches and paintings of the dress and moko of the Mäori women who sat on a seat in front of the local baker's shop in Taihape.
Bessie Murray's work is highly regarded. She made other character figures, such as nursery rhyme characters and pioneer children, but her Mäori mother-and-child dolls represent some of her best and most popular work. They are noted for their realism and sensitive portrayals of Mäori.