They share intimate things with them, they become family members - BJD dolls.
The history of the appearance and features of BJD dolls.
If we look back centuries, we find that articulated dolls were known even before our era.
Some of the clay and fossilized wooden archaeological fragments of dolls discovered in the territory of ancient Greece and Rome date back to the 2nd century. BC.
In those days, dolls were deprived of their play function and served rather as an object of worship or ritual object.
In the novel of an ancient Roman writer Petronia there is a description of the festivities in the houses of the Roman patricians, where it was customary to bring a hinged silver doll into the hall at the end of the feast.
Later in the Middle Ages in Italy and southern France, sculpted articulated dolls of various sizes (from 20 to 60 cm) were created from wood of varying degrees of realism. Until the 19th century, such dolls remained wooden.
And only at the end of the 19th century in France and Germany, completely new in style, technology and materials appeared ball-jointed dolls. These were smartly dressed ladies, whose heads were cast from noble expensive porcelain, and their bodies were made of cheaper composite, leather, or papier-mâché. However, the size of these dolls varied from 15 to 100 cm (6 to 40 inches).
This is how the modern history of ball-jointed dolls began in Western Europe.
These dolls, as in antiquity, continued to be a luxury item. Only wealthy people could afford them.
The next milestone in the history of articulated dolls was the work of the German artist Hans Bellmer.
In the period from 1930 to 1960, Bellmer created a huge number of unique works that are recognized as real works of art, and far from toys.
The artist created unusual dolls with many hinges in unexpected parts of the body, swapped body parts as a constructor and actively used them in his conceptual installations, photographs and other surrealistic objects.
Bellmer was the first to put forward the idea of a separate art form - the art of doll photography.
Bellmer significantly influenced the technique of creating articulated dolls, improved the structure of hinges, which was inherited by modern BJD dolls.
At the end of the 20th century, under the influence of H. Bellmer, the European tradition and, first of all, traditional Japanese dolls (Ichimatsu), Japanese artists began to create their original articulated dolls that won the hearts of collectors around the world.
Japan is considered the birthplace of BJD dolls, since this term in the name of dolls was first used by the Japanese company Volks in 1999. Before that, no one called articulated dolls that way.
So what does the mysterious abbreviation BJD mean?
Bjd (BZhD) is an abbreviation for the English ball-jointed doll that is literally - "ball-jointed doll" or simply articulated.
The main feature of these creations is that in all the supposed joints: the torso, neck and chest, hips, shoulders, elbows, knees, ankles, wrists, and sometimes in the fingers of the hands, the dolls have movable spherical joints (hinges) by analogy with human joints.
All parts of the body (parts) are assembled on special elastic cords inside the doll, which give the required tension and allow the doll to take various poses. It is the tension of the elastic that regulates mobility and balance.
This design is unique in its own way: without a rigid skeleton, the dolls are so well balanced that they can stand on their own without supports and assume many postures inherent in humans.
It was with Volks that the history of mass commercial production of Asian BJDs began. But the first known doll of this company, which determined the development of modern Belarusian Railways, who asked them the current style and size, was not created at all for sale.
With such an original gift, literally made with his own hands, one of the sculptors decided to congratulate his wife. This gift doll is now in the Tenshi no Sato ("House of Angels") museum in Kyoto. Her height is 57cm. When the Super Dollfie (Dollfie is a derivative of the "doll" doll and "figure" figure) went on sale, they made a splash and are still popular with collectors and hobbyists.
Super Dollfie were made to be easy to transform and modify - it was an attempt to enter the female (adult) market.
BJD dolls are mainly aimed at an adult audience and are both playable and collectible.
The laborious process of creating and the high cost of materials does not initially imply the cheapness of these dolls, plus they are too heavy and vulnerable for a child, therefore, mostly adults “play” in BJD.
2001, namely Volks released the first BZD with a boyish body in a limited batch of 50 pieces.
The sales success exceeded all expectations, initiating a whole series of male dolls.
The earliest Asian ball jointed dolls were heavily influenced by aesthetics anime, but at the same time, the buyer was already asked to choose clothes, a wig for his doll, change the make-up, thereby making it more original and unique.
Later, South Korea and China began to develop their production of dolls made of polyurethane resins, and the BJD began to be called A BJD (Asian Ball Jointed Dolls). Around 2002-2003 South Korean companies have also started to create and produce similar dolls. Customhouse and Cerberus Project were some of the first Korean firms to manufacture BJDs, and many more have expanded since then.
As already mentioned, the classic game BJDs are cast from a material called "Polyurethane", "PU" (or the so-called resin in English) Is a special high quality polymer resin.
The composition of polyurethane differs from manufacturer to manufacturer, and they try to keep it secret. This plastic is inelastic, hard, and a bit like porcelain to the touch. But unlike porcelain, resin is much more durable, which allows you to perform various manipulations with the doll, or "play", as it is called among collectors.
Therefore, the term "play dolls" in this case is rather arbitrary, causes controversy in the professional environment and has little in common with children playing with dolls. Collectors of such dolls are usually adults who dress, take pictures, take their pets to visit and for a walk, sew clothes and shoes for them, create hairstyles and new images.
The most intimate is shared with them, they become family members.
Collectible piece articulated dolls, created by lone craftsmen, do not belong to play ones, often they are real works of art, the destiny of which to show off in the window. They are created from various materials (porcelain, fluumo, papier-mâché, wood, special plastics, etc.) in an extremely limited edition or in a single copy.
There are basic criteria that allow attributing a particular doll specifically to BJD:
- they are made of polyurethane (resin)
- the mobility of the doll is ensured by hinges
- parts of the BJD doll are connected with an elastic band
- the doll's head consists of two or more parts, the eyes can be changed
- BJDs can wear clothes and shoes.
- the wig is detachable and easy to replace.
- such dolls involve customization (the ability to change individual sculptural and cosmetic elements of the doll: wig, eyes, makeup, change hands and feet and even faces, not to mention clothes, shoes and accessories).
When ordering BJD, you can choose a complete set, which is divided into nude or basic, fullset, Limited Edition (LE).
Nude or Basic - basic doll. This is a doll assembled on an elastic band ("elastic band") without a wig, painting, makeup ("make up"), eyes (although some companies complete their dolls with randomly selected eyes), eyelashes, clothes, shoes and accessories. Makeup and more can be ordered for a fee.
Fullset - full set. A kit sold as a doll with makeup, wig, eyes, clothes and sometimes shoes. As a rule, the "promo" photos show exactly the dolls Fullset.
Limited Edition - limited edition. Limited edition doll. The kit includes a doll with makeup, wig, clothes, shoes and sometimes additional accessories. From some companies it is possible for a separate payment to order, together with the limited doll, another version of the head or just the face: "sleeping" - with half-closed or closed eyes, or "fantasy" - demonic, vampire.
Limited edition dolls are often more expensive than their serial counterparts.
Many people argue about whether the game polyurethane BJD dolls are collectible, and this dispute will not fade away for a very long time.
A large selection of additional elements for creating an image, their interchangeability allow you to create your own unique, one-of-a-kind doll (or OOAK - one of a kind). You can change a lot in your pet, there is an endless scope for customization (alteration, transformation) even for those owners who do not have special artistic skills.
These dolls captivate with their realism, become a source of inspiration, delight in the creative process and pride in seeing the results achieved.
Perhaps it was the freedom for creativity, the possibility of co-authorship for the owners of the Belarusian Railways that made these dolls so popular - first in Asia, then in the USA, and now all over the world. People buying them often find a niche for self-expression, thus raising the BJD hobby on a par with other types of art.
Many collectors give preference to dolls created by the artisans, very limited editions, but also offer the possibility of customization.
BJD doll is a design object for the creative expression of artists, photographers, fashion designers, as well as a wonderful companion for those who are simply close to these beautiful creatures. Often, not only the appearance is invented, but also the legend of the character is created, the story of his life, habits and preferences is compiled, a certain concept or author's idea is broadcast.
So what is a BJD doll for its owner?
A beautiful thing that can please the eye, an object for creativity or a companion for communication? Everyone finds something of their own in them.
These dolls are capable of evoking strong emotions in people - it happens that the owners become so attached to their pets that they become full members of the family and their loss or damage is very painful. Indeed, when creating the image of his pet, a person inevitably puts a piece of his soul, animates his creation.
What to do with a ball jointed doll? Whether you will use her as a photo model, put her on a shelf or play with her (after all, BJDs were originally conceived as play dolls) - only your choice. In any case, life will be colored with new colors.
Cover photo by Yulia Puchkina.
The material was prepared by Yulia Puchkina.