Art doll

The oldest doll in the world comes from ancient Egypt and has thick hair and a wooden body | Anita Durairaj

In the history of dolls, ancient Egyptian wooden paddle dolls are said to be the oldest type of doll in the world.

The paddle doll dates back to 2000 BC. AD to the Egyptian Middle Kingdom. The dolls have been excavated from various tombs dating from the Sixth Dynasty to the Thirteenth Dynasty of Egypt.

According to the Met Museum, which contains a collection of Egyptian art, the paddle doll is just a flat piece of wood meant to represent the female body or torso. The doll contains a neck and what looks like arms branching out from the sides of the torso.

The paddle doll has thick hair made of beads on a linen thread. The body can be painted with jewelry or decorative textile patterns or tattoos. Paddle dolls can even be painted with more intimate body parts. This is because dolls were never meant to be toys.

The dolls are believed to have served a religious or symbolic purpose. Initially, dolls were believed to be symbols of fertility. However, many paddle dolls have been discovered near ancient clappers (a form of percussion instruments).

The doll’s beaded hair would have made percussion sounds when shaken. Thus, the dolls could have been used during the songs and dances that occurred during religious ceremonies.

There is still no consensus among historians as to the true purpose of paddle dolls.

Today, the paddle dolls can be found in various museums, including the Met Museum.