At first I believed this amazing vintage doll was a voodoo doll, but I have learned that it is in fact a Peruvian Chancay burial doll. These were traditionally used in the Chancay culture, a pre-Columbian civilization located in modern day Peru. The burial ‘dolls’ were made of woven fabric, typically stuffed with reed or fiber, dressed in gendered garments woven to size, and would usually have tapestry-woven faces with dramatic facial features. Believed to represent human beings, it is uncertain exactly the purpose they served.
"Burial dolls" have continued to be produced by contemporary indigenous and Mestizo cultures of the Andean region, modeled after the ancient ones. Apparently, because many of the graves have been looted, broken remnants of artifacts and scraps of ancient textiles often litter the burial grounds today. Local artisans gather up these remnants and use them to create dolls like this, which most likely dates from the mid-20th century.
The doll measures 11 1/2 inches tall and 4 inches wide. The burlap is shedding a bit and the red thread on one arm has come a bit unravelled, but it is in overall very good condition and quite a remarkable object.