Collecting antique bisque dolls is a hobby some people engage in. Bisque dolls are commonly referred to as as porcelain dolls. Up to the 1860s, dolls were made from porcelain. These were glazed and looked like china.
The truth is bisque dolls are different from porcelain dolls. Antique bisque dolls were first made with leather for its clothing as well as the bodies. Nowadays, antique bisque dolls are very expensive and breakable. They are rarely manufactured for playing. These are for collectibles only.
To elaborate, bisque is porcelain that is not glazed whereas porcelain is a result of paste from a mixture of water and clay. However the process of molding for antique bisque dolls and antique porcelain dolls are pretty much the same.
The application of the color creates a skin tone that is realistic, as if it is really human. If no color is added to antique bisque dolls, then these are called a parian dolls.
The production of antique bisque dolls were circa 1860s in France. A lot o doll factories made unglazed porcelain dolls and they were the first to do. It gained popularity and the factories were able to obtain the right material to make doll heads circa early 1900s.
The composition of these replaced bisque as the material that was used for the dolls. But since antique bisque dolls have such a history on dolls in general, contemporary collectors continue to collect these.
The sizes and characteristics of antique bisque dolls vary. If the heads of the dolls are made from bisque, then these are considered to be antique bisque dolls. But because of the weight of the material, most antique bisque dolls are not completely from bisque.
If so, they wouldn't just be heavy, they would also be fragile. The smaller antique bisque dolls were such a hit during the 1800s up til the 1930s. They were called the penny dolls. The sizes of antique bisque dolls range from ½ inch up to life size which is around 5 feet tall.
There are companies that continue to produce antique bisque dolls because of the demand. All throughout history, these dolls are still produced. Most bisque doll factories are located in France (because this is where these dolls started.).
Then manufacturing companies transferred to Germany circa 1880s. In 1900s, there were already manufacturing companies in the United States. In the end of the 20th century, China also has their own factories which manufacture antique bisque dolls.
Nearly all the bisque dolls that are created today are made in China, except for those rare antique bisque dolls which most collectors are searching high and low for.