Dolls : Seminole Doll

Seminole Doll

This doll, made by members of Seminole Nation in southern Florida, reflects the evolving cultural practices of the Seminoles over the past century. Originally, dolls were very simple and lacked facial features because the Seminoles enforced a strict taboo on creating close representations of humans. However, as the dolls became popular among tourists, the Seminoles began crafting dolls that were increasingly lifelike. Dolls such as this one accurately depict Seminole women, from the iconic patchwork designs of the dress to the strands of beads at the neck. The Seminoles even began using palmetto fiber instead of wood to form the body of the doll, so as to precisely replicate the reddish quality of their skin tone. In this doll, we can see how interactions between groups can influence the material and cultural representations of the human form over time.