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A10019 Kewpie dolls (13), and cane, celluloid / nylon / cotton / glitter / bamboo, unknown maker, possibly made in Taiwan, 1950-1959. Click to enlarge.

Kewpie dolls possibly made in Taiwan

The Kewpie doll is easily recognisable by its fat litttle belly, tuft hairstyle, big eyes and whimsical expression. Kewpies have become popular as colourful souvenir of the Royal Easter Show. Originally created without clothes the Kewpies have now achieved a new level of glitz with dresses made of multiple layers of colourful tulle and ribbon, glittery bodices and metallic hairstyles . Some versions wear hats, tiaras, or feathered headdresses. The dolls are attached to a painted cane to make …

Parts of this object


Object No.


Object Statement

Kewpie dolls (13), and cane, celluloid / nylon / cotton / glitter / bamboo, unknown maker, possibly made in Taiwan, 1950-1959

Physical Description

Thirteen kewpie dolls made of moulded plastic, with painted facial features. The dolls are decorated with gold glitter and dressed in various brightly coloured cotton and netting materials. Each doll is attached to a cane walking stick, with one extra cane which is not attached to a doll.


Stamped on back "MADE IN [TAIWAN]"



The Kewpie was originally made into a paper doll that children could cut out of a publication. From there they became a celluloid head attached to a cloth body. The 1920s saw an explosion in the manufacturing of celluloid and factories in many countries were able to produce the dolls made completely from this material. This enabled the dolls to become inexpensive- making them the perfect toy for kids at the Showground as they were available cheaply and in large numbers. However, celluloid is not hard wearing and from the 1940s Kewpies were made from other types of plastics. They were still able to be made cheaply but could withstand the rough play of children, and be cleaned after a day of fairy floss and sweets.



The kewpie dolls were originally sold at side shows at the Royal Easter Show.


Credit Line

Purchased 1984

Acquisition Date

20 March 1984

Cite this Object


Kewpie dolls possibly made in Taiwan 2023, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 30 May 2023, <>


{{cite web |url= |title=Kewpie dolls possibly made in Taiwan |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=30 May 2023 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}