German, ca 1800
H 33 cm
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These wooden sculptures are rare examples of high quality milliners heads and wig stands shaped in the form of a human head. Some exist that exhibit a simple relief of the human face, whereas others are highly detailed and consist of not only a realistically carved head, but also a neck and bust that function as the stand’s base. The stands allowed the owner to efficiently store his or her cap or wig without it loosing its form. Some other types had a more practical function – they were used as a kind of tool for the production of hats. Stands carved and painted to resemble upper class women were clearly used for wigs – so called wig stands. Wig stands were very popular in the 17th and 18th centuries, beginning with the trend-setting fashion set by Louis XIII and Louis XIV in France. The stands were most commonly made of wood, although some examples exist made of porcelain; however, these often took the form of a small globe with a stand in comparison to the wooden examples, which boast vivid and curious carvings of the human visage. Many examples have been painted in detail, whereas others left in their natural wooden tone, as is the case for the present ones. The hair and the ears of the wig stands were often carved into or painted on top of the sculpture. As these wooden sculptures are rarely known to have been works of established artists, but rather of local craftsmen, each of them presents its own unique qualities - it is rare that their makers can be identified.
Published in: Raum für Objekte - Ariane Laue Kunsthandel, Kat. IV - Nr. 6, München 2016