Seminole Indian Dolls
Seminole Indian dolls were crafted by members of the Native American Seminole tribe. Although originally the tribe was from Florida, today the tribe also resides in Oklahoma.
Brief history and description
The dolls were typically crafted from cloth-wrapped palmetto leaves and fiber husks and stuffed with cotton, and were designed to resemble the clothing and hairstyles of traditional male and female Seminoles.
Small dolls were approximately two inches in height, while the larger dolls were between 10 to 18 inches in height. The dolls were commonly dressed in colourful patchwork clothing and black cloth headdresses, and some female dolls may have featured tiny beaded earrings or necklaces.
Mary B. Billie was one of the notable Seminole dollmakers, who learned the craft from her mother at the age of 17.
Guide for collectors
Items which were crafted by Mary B. Billie tend to be the most popular and highly sought-after among collectors.
Some authentic Seminole dolls may also have a handmade tag stitched to the back of the item which reads "Indian Doll, Florida Seminole."
Replacing the doll's original clothing is not recommended.
For more information visit the official websites of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma or the Seminole Tribe of Florida. Other excellent resources include the Native-Languages.org website, and the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum website is dedicated to preserving the knowledge of Seminole traditions as well.
Cowan's Auctions in Cincinnati, Ohio sold two Seminole dolls (one male and one female) made of palm fiber and wearing vibrant patchwork clothing (11.25" in height) for $748 in September of 2004.
Skinner in Massachusetts sold a lot of 26 male and female Seminole dolls (circa 20th century) for $375 in January of 2011.
Old Barn Auction in Findlay, Ohio sold:
- A female doll (circa 1950) for $100 in October of 2011.
- Two dolls (circa 1930 to 1940) for $80 in October of 2011.
- One female doll (circa 1960s) for $20 in October of 2011.
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