Dolls have a long, rich history across the cultures. In prehistoric times, primitive puppets were often used in ceremonies. Tribal healers in Africa, Asia, and elsewhere, sometimes utilized dolls in medicinal rituals. And, of course, most people are familiar with the idea of cursing enemies through the use of voodoo dolls (but we won’t go there right now…)
A few month ago, we looked at the tradition of corn dollies, which were believed to keep the spirits of the grain alive through the long winters, and to help ensure a good harvest the following year. But speaking of fruit faces (as we did in our earlier post about Guiseppe Arcimboldo’s unique portraits, here’s another way to use another common natural material (apples) to create the wonderful, wizened faces of applehead dolls. The Seneca Indians may have been the first to make dolls from apples, but the craft was later adopted by the mountain people in Appalachia. Today, they remain a popular folk art of the region.
I’m just going to give you the basics here, because there are several sites out there (www.appledolls.org in particular) that already do a far better job than I with the specifics. Look for the resource list at the end of the post.