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Culture:American (possibly Pennsylvania German)
Title:Dancing Toy
Date Made:19th century
Materials:carved, painted wood
Place Made:United States; Pennsylvania (possibly)
Measurements:figure only: 8 3/4 x 1 1/2 x 2 1/4 in.; 22.225 x 3.81 x 5.715 cm; stand: 2 x 4 x 16 3/4 in.; 5.08 x 10.16 x 42.545 cm
Accession Number:  SC 2003.30.15
Credit Line:Bequest of Dorothy C. Miller (Mrs. Holger Cahill), class of 1925
Museum Collection:  Smith College Museum of Art

dark figure in boots with loose joints, black stand and large unpainted paddle

Label Text:
This joined dancing figure, said to represent a black American, is based on an old type of rhythm toy called a lumberjack or Dancing Dan. The user would sit on a chair with the board tucked under his hip and the paddle extended. The doll would have been held over the paddle by a rod attached to its back and would "dance" when the paddle was tapped. This toy draws on the stereotype, also reflected in other art forms of the 19th century, of black Americans as carefree entertainers who performed for the amusement of others.

toys; recreation

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