Worcester Antiques
Antiques & 20th Century Collectables

Chinese Door of Hope Doll from Shanghai Mission

Old Lady

Chinese Door of Hope mission doll in original condition, circa 1920

Original and rare early Door of Hope Doll of an elderly Chinese lady with bound feet and wrinkles. She is 11 inches (28cm) in height with carved pear wood hands and head, the head with black painted hair (with stippling detail), eyes, eyebrows and pink lips. Well defined crisp carving of her facial expression and various wrinkles as well as a carved coiled chignon and decorative stick with remains of gold paint. She wears an original blue silk tunic with black frog enclosures, original black skirt and pants and original white cotton under garments.

Listed as 'Old Lady' doll number 3 (out of 24) in "Doll Collectors Manual" by Doll Collectors of America.

This doll would have had her head and hands carved by one of the skilled Chinese wood carvers at Ning-Po and the body and garments would have been made by the young rescued Chinese girls and women from the Door of Hope Mission in Shanghai during the 1920s. The rescued girls at the mission were taught to sew by making costumes for these dolls, consequently they are all unique and embody a wonderful story of kindness and hope. The dolls are considered to be a very accurate reflection of cultural identity of the Chinese people at the time when they were made, and their dress style can be a crucial factor in dating accurately.

I am sure if you are interested in this doll you are familiar with the cultural history of these dolls. Further detailed information available from Cynthia E Musser's article from Dolls Magazine.

Chinese Door of Hope Doll from Shanghai mission, carved Old lady
11" (28cm) Old Lady Chinese Door of Hope Doll c1920s

The clothing is original with fine hand stitching and both the wood type and carving style is exactly as it should be. The size and style are also correct. Furthermore, we also acquired this collectable doll long forgotten together with letters from China and a well used Red Cross invalid feeding cup dating 1880-1920.


Generally excellent, she has been well looked after and appears to have been preserved and forgotten for some considerable time at the bottom of a draw and there are some crease marks on the garments. Very firmly stuffed original muslin body and the thread work is all in good condition.

She no longer has her black headband, and there is some patina to the wooden hands and head from time and handling. The clothes are clean and in very good condition, there is some minor wear to the royal blue tunic at the rear. There is no odour and the colours are bright but there are slightly cleaner/brighter areas within the creases. The frog enclosures are all well made and in fine condition and fasten, including the under garments. There is fraying on the thin silk ribbon at the waist of the black skirt (pictured), it cannot be seen when the doll is dressed and is only noticeable when the clothing is removed from the doll.


Chinese Door of Hope Doll from Shanghai mission, carved Old lady

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Chinese Door of Hope Doll from Shanghai mission, carved Old lady Elderley Lady with wrinkeles carved Pear Wood Head of Door of Hope Carved black coiled chingnon hair with gold comb door of hope doll Chinese Door of Hope Mission Doll with black silk skirt Front view of Door of Hope Mission doll with hand sewn pants Right Carved hands on door of hope chinese doll Left Carved hands on door of hope chinese doll door of hope doll cotton under garment with frog enclosures Bound feet typical of an early door of hope doll bound feet of door of hope doll with star stitching blue Tunic with black frog ties from early door of hope doll inside blue tunic with detailed hand stitching sewing door of hope dolls hand sewn black silk skirt Door of Hope dolls hand sewn trousers or pants