green fanGlossary of Terms Related to Porcelain Dollmaking:

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All-Bisque: Term used when entire doll is made of bisque.

All-Original: A term applied to an antique doll whose costume came with it when originally purchased or the costume was made for the doll when new.

Antique Costume: Costume over 75 years old.

Antique Doll: Doll over 75 years old.

Applied Ears: Ears that are molded separately and attached in the greenware stage.

Articulated: Jointed to make posing the doll possible.

Ball-jointed: Type of doll joint using wood ball in the socket for flexibility and movement.

Bebe: French childlike doll.

Bent Leg Baby Body: A chubby torso with curved arms and legs, designed to maintain a sitting position.

Bisque: Fired form of porcelain clay that was fired until it chemically changed or melted. It is like material of fine dishes, only without glaze or shine.

Blush: To deepen flesh tones with paint giving a doll color. For example, the color applied to cheeks, elbows or knees.

Breather: A doll with open nostrils.

Brevete: French word for "patented".

Character Dolls: Lifelike representation of real people, especially babies and children. Dolls with realistic expressions.

China Paint: An overglaze made of universal colors mixed with a flux which fuse to the porcelain at cone 018.

Closed Crown: The head us usually round at the top with no opening for working on the eyes, etc.

Coiffures: Hairstyles.

Composition: Refers to a variety of materials which were used to make heads and bodies. Most often made of a glue and wood pulp mixture. Contemporary composition is a latex type material poured into plaster molds.

Color Rubs: Places where cheek color is rubbed thorugh exposing white bisque underneath.

Cone: A clay bar formulated to melt or bend at a specific temperature. The number of the cone determines at what temperture it was made to bend.

Contemporary Costume: Clothing made about the same time as the doll, but not necessarily for the doll.

Couturier: Designer of fashion for women.

Crazing: Very fine cracks that occur in a glaze when the glaze and clay body have not been fired properly.

Crown Opening: A cut-away part of a doll head.

Depose: French word for "registered". French makers used this term on heads and shoes. Also used on German dolls. Often seen as "Dep."

Dolly Face Dolls: German dolls with plump cheeks, open mouths and teeth. They were not modeled after a child, but were an idealized portrait of a child of no particular age.

Elements: The heating coils of a kiln.

Firing: The process of maturing clay to bisque or glaze of the many types of ceramic or china paints in a kiln.

Flanged Neck: A doll head with a ridge at the base of the neck to be covered by the upper part of a cloth body.

Flat Eyes: Refers to an acrylic eye that is not a curved across the front surface as a round eye.

Flirty Eyes: Eyes that move from side-to-side.

Flux: An element used in china paint as a binder, causing the china paint to adhere to porcelain when fired. Also used to add more gloss to china paint.

Googly Eyes: Large, often round eyes looking to the side.

Glaze: A formulation of chemicals and frit (a glass-like substance). Applied to bisque and fired.

Greenware: Clay ware or piece in its unfired state.


Incised Mark: Letters, numbers or names impressed into the bisque on the back of heads or shoulder plates.

Intaglio Eyes: Painted eyes with a concave pupil and iris.

Jne: Mark found on Bru dolls meaning junior.

Kid Bodies: Bodies of sheepskin leather sewn and stuffed with sawdust cork or hair.

Kiln: An insulated chamber heated by electric or gas which is used to mature ceramic ware.

Kiln Shelf: A shelf in the kiln on which to fire ceramic wear. Made of refractory material which will not melt in a normal firing. Shelves may be stacked with the use of posts made of a similar material.

Kiln Wash: A liquid formulation painted on the top of kiln shelves to prevent ware or paint from sticking to the shelf during firing.

Lady Dolls: Dolls with adult female figure.

Matting Agent: A material added to china paint to reduce the amount of gloss in the fired product.

Media: An oil or vehicle used to aid in the application of paint.

Mildew: A term usd to describe the salt and pepper effect which is caused by appliying china paint to underfired bisque.

Modern Dolls: Dolls less than 25 years old.

Mohair: Angora goat hair used in making doll wigs.

Mold: A block of plaster, usually in two pieces, which has the features of the doll part impressed into it. Slip is poured into it, then, after setting up to the desired thickness, is pour out again.

Molded Hair: Dolls with hair formed in the mold. Hair was not added.

Neck Button: A round button that comes in many sizes, placed inside the head and attached with a hook to the body elastic, to hold the head in place.

Open Closed Mouth: The mouth is molded to look open but has no real opening in the bisque.

Open Crown Head: The head if flat and open at the top to allow for easy eye installation. A pate is used to cover the opening and round out the top of the head.

Open Mouth: Lips parted with an actual opening in the bisque with teeth either molded in the bisque or set in separately

Original Costume: Clothing made for a doll at the time the doll was produced or made at home as the doll's first dress.

Overglaze: China paints, lusters and metallics applied over a glazed surface and fired.

Paperweight Eyes: Eyes with a glass bulge on the outside, giving depth to the eyes. Used only on French dolls.

Pate: Covering for open head, usually cardboard in German dolls and cork in French dolls.

Peepholes: The small holes in the side of the kiln which are used to visually check the cone inside the kiln. Also used for ventilation and air circulation inside the kiln.

Plug: Used to refer to a small part of a mold that is inserted between the main sections.

Porcelain: A clay formation that fires to a fine translucent bisque and is vitreous (non-porous) at maturity.

Pouncing: A method of blending china paint color with a dry brush or china silk.

Pour Gate: The area of the mold into which slip is poured.

Prop-it: A trade name for a ceramic fiber used for supporting porcelain in the cone 6 firing. It may be reused and contains no asbestos.


Reproduction Doll: A doll created from a mold, the original of which was sculpted by someone else.

Set Eyes: Eyes that do not move.

S.G.D.G.: Indicates a patent, registered without guarantee of the government.

Shoulder Head: Doll head and shoulder plate that are all one piece.

Shoulder Plate: Separate plate used to attach socket heads to cloth bodies.

Silica Sand: Fine powdered sand used as a support or cushion when firing porcelain greenware to bisque.

Sleep Eyes: Eyes that open and close.

Slip: A term generally used to describe a liquid clay with is poured into a plaster mold.

Socket Head: Head and neck that fit into an opening in a shoulder plate or neck of a full body.

Soft-Fired Greenware: Greenware that has been fired to a cone 018 or 019 to provide ease in handling and makes wet cleaning possible.

Spare: The clay which extends from the piece to the pour gate of a mold, generally removed when taking the ware from the mold.

Tete: Jumeau mark. "Tete Jumeau."

Toddler Body: A chubby ball-jointed body with chunky short thighs. Sometimes has curved arms and straight legs.

Turned Shoulder Head: The head is molded at an angle on the shoulder plate so that the head is facing sideways.

Underglaze: Pigment applied to the greenware and fired to a cone 6.

Vitreous: Non-porous.

Warping: A piece has lost its original shape in the greeware due to improper handling in the greenware or bisque firing.

Witness Cones: Large cones placed on the shelves of the kiln during firing to determine the accuracy of the firing.




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Last updated: April 19, 1999