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Definition of a doll joint


Definition: If someone asks you "what kind of joints does your doll have," they are not asking you about whether or not your doll has an illegal smoking substance. Doll joints are the mechanisms by which dolls can be posed; the mechanism by which the doll's connections can be posed, bent, and otherwise moved. The most common doll joints are head to neck, shoulder to arm, and hips to legs. A doll just with those joints is a five-jointed doll, which is quite common. Dolls can have many more joints than just that; other areas that are often jointed in dolls are elbows, knees, wrists, ankles, and waists. Some dolls have additional turning mechanisms in their upper arms and thighs. Some dolls can have as many as 18 joints--with jointed toes and jointed breast-plates! Mechanisms of jointing dolls include stringing, ball-joints, interior wire, and gussets (for cloth or leather doll bodies).

Doll joints can be the basis of competition between doll companies--for instance, French Fashion dolls in the 1800s developed many different types of patented jointed bodies. Barbie in the 1960s kept innovating the doll's body, and added twist waists and bending knees. Types of doll joints can also go in and out of fashion--for instance, ball joints were very popular on German and French antique dolls, and then not again until the Asian ball-jointed modern dolls of today.

Pronunciation: Same as joint for a human, such as knee joint.
Also Known As: ball-joint, posing mechanism, doll stringing
The doll mainly had ball-joints, although her head was strung. I prefer dolls with wire-joints that don't show.

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