Mojave Souvenir Figurine, ca. 1895
My parents bought an estate in Tulsa, Oklahoma. And in a chest of drawers they found the doll.
How many years ago?
It was about the mid-'70s.
What do you know about it?
We didn't know too much. My mom liked it and decided to keep it instead of selling it. She had a friend come and look at a lot of American Indian items that she has. The only thing he mentioned was that the Indians used to make these to sell to the trains going west as souvenirs. And that's what he thought perhaps this was.
Well, that part's right. This is from the area between like Los Angeles and the Nevada border, the Mojave Desert.
And this is made by the Mojave Indians. And they were a desert tribe. There were very few of them by the time this is made. And they did make these little clay dolls to sell as the railroads went through. It started heavily between 1890 and about 1900. Continued a little while up into the early 20th century and then just stopped. Very few of them survived because they're fragile. They break. That's one of the things about yours, it's got a crack in the arm. And it's a maternity figure. And as I turn it around, you can see that it's got the little baby on the back. You can also see the arm where it's been cleaned to fix the crack. And it's neat because it's got a lot of details. A lot of these don't have the details like the earrings, and the earring has a bead on it. It's also got all the clothing. It's got the red painted stripes. They've become pretty collectible. They're extremely rare because there were so few Indians making them from the Mojave tribe. And it's a limited group of collectors, but they're pretty serious collectors. So you're probably talking $2,500 to $3,500.
Wow, wow. That's great.
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