Madonnas, Mawkins and Mammets

On Sunday I went to the flea market in the Piazza dei Ciompi. I was looking for what passes for lares et penates in contemporary Italy and I was not disappointed.

In case you’re wondering, these were the household gods of the Ancient Romans. The omnivorous and voracious Victorian collector, Henry Willett, described homely domestic ornaments as a ‘kind of unconscious survival’ of these personal and private little gods.

Of course there were madonnas aplenty.

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I noticed that some of them seemed to have had discreet eyeliner and eyebrow threading. I confess to coveting one of these simpering lovelies.

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Like this one.

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And this one. And some of the infant figures and cherubs do not bear close examination.

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I am as unclear what the pink drapery is hiding as I am about what’s lurking under these cunningly placed teddies.

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And moving on from religious images to mammets ( a doll or puppet; a lifeless figure, an effigy Рaccording to Wikipedia) Рthey were there in spades.

This one appealed to me; s/he appears to be sunbathing nude in a black hole.

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And this ballerina is dancing blithely while right in front of her a tiny girl is being crucified on a porcelain barrel and a nasty looking mannikin is doing something unpleasant to a chanter.

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And a pink porcelain corps de ballet kneels near a giantess. Talk about dainty rogues in porcelain.

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But disquieting as the mammets may be they are as nothing compared to the mawkins – which I have grown up thinking to be a doll that you stick pins in (my husband disagrees).

Ok – this one, ‘armless enough, I suppose.

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But this one – now I know why I have never played with dollies. That basilisk stare could kill at fifty paces. And is she trying to tip her hat invitingly? Because, if so, it isn’t working for me.

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Chuckie’s evil younger sister.

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If you go down to the woods today, you’re sure of a big surprise – blue eyeliner, nail varnish and a brand spanking new knitted layette.

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Porky boy here is possibly my least favourite.

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But it’s hard to choose given the bewildering variety.

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I think I’ll just thwream and thwream until I’m thick.

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About pennimania

Artist, entomologist, grumbler.
This entry was posted in Boboli Personality, Pleionexia. Bookmark the permalink.

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