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The Dancing Doll has been a popular entertainer of both children and adults for centuries. Loose limbed, and normally controlled on a board by one horizontal string, these erratically frisking figures have been seen throughout Europe, parts of Asia, and Africa. Although the origins of the doll are not clear, most would be classified as Marionettes a la Planchette, but at some point (before the end of the eighteenth century) some became controlled by a wooden rod fixed into the puppet's back.

These Jigging Puppets or Jig Dolls are normally carved or whittled and are between 20 and 30 cm high, although one made during the Napoleonic wars is only 64 mm in height. Some are dressed in fabric clothing but most have their costumes painted or drawn onto the wood that forms their bodies. A 29 cm Victorian dancing doll was exhibited at the Great Exhibition of 1851.

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