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Amish individuals do not possess photos of themselves because it’s believed that they may encourage vanity, which runs counter to their  religious ideals of community and equality. The dolls played with by Amish children are faceless for the same reason. The lack of a face or any other distinguishing characteristics also make the dolls “less worldly” which is important in Amish culture; a simple doll to go with their simple lifestyle.

The Amish dolls of today evolved from old-fashioned ragdolls, which were each one-of-a-kind due to their necessary construction materials, but current day Amish dolls now all share the same basic look. All fabric used is a solid color. A plain white fabric makes up their body and face, while hair and other distinguishing characteristics are non-existent. Gender is indicated only by their clothing, which is either an Amish boy’s pants, shirt, jacket, and hat, or an Amish girl’s dress, apron, and bonnet. Another item you won’t find on either an authentic Amish doll or an Amish person are buttons – they don’t use them!

You may find buttons AND faces on other kinds of Amish dolls, the kind usually purchased as gifts or keepsakes by the English (non-Amish.) Both types are fun to make or purchase, and in Shipshewana, you can do both! Many shops, including Yoder’s Shipshewana Hardware, and the Shipshewana Craft Barn sell Amish dolls for purchase. If you’d like to make your own, you can do so at Kid’s Kreations, located on Harrison Street in Shipshewana’s Downtown Shopping District.

Clara, the shop owner, is an Amish woman who loves to assist both adults and children to make their own custom dolls. They also have larger, non-Amish doll options as well, and you can choose everything from hair to clothing to make a doll all your own. Kid’s Kreations can be a great stop for a group tour, or the perfect location for your child’s next party, as well as a great indoor activity when it’s cold out.

Whether you view Amish dolls as collectible crafts, folk art, or a special keepsake, Shipshewana and the Amish community can help with dolls, materials, and know-how.


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