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Help to identify figure please?!

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Chalkware43 of 22219th Century Pennsylvania Hollow Plaster Dog (Poodle)Little boy sculpture
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    Posted 3 years ago

    (2 items)

    I am trying to identify what this Chalk Painted figure is called or represents. It is owned by a friend and is rather damaged. It has a hooked nose, wears a hood and what looks like a straight jacket and has one cloven hoof foot and one misshapen foot. If anyone can help identify what this is we would be very grateful. Thanks.

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    1. fhrjr2 fhrjr2, 3 years ago
      Very interesting. This reminds me of a Jester, especially the head gear and the feet. I have seen images of them with two hoof feet and what they call chicken feet, but never with one of each. Kind of unusual. Thanks for sharing it.
    2. Watchsearcher Watchsearcher, 3 years ago
      His expression doesn’t show him to be especially distressed but his cleft looking goatee style or actual cleft chin is him a devilish look.

      Could the garment around his upper torso just be a shawl held closely for warmth?
      He’s as thin as can be, looks malnourished so maybe he’s very cold also.

      That cloven hoof looking thing is disturbing! Could he have lost a foot somehow (accident or birth defect) and that is a prosthetic foot? Like the way they used to make “peg legs”?
      The way he is standing it looks like he is trying to hide the “hoof” behind his other foot.

      The other foot wearing the shoe is not deformed. He wearing a style of shoe that was popular among wealthy men - the long pointy toe made walking difficult but, being wealthy, they did not have to be on their feet walking very much anyway...that shoe style was a status symbol, the longer the pointy toe, the better.
      I just read an article about the style of shoes recently and already I have forgotten dates and location—- probably European, maybe 1600s.

      The figuring is interesting but the man has a disturbing demonic look!

    3. Watchsearcher Watchsearcher, 3 years ago
      Just found the article about the shoes: online article on Gastro Obscura, May 2019. The time frame the shoes were worn was from mid 1300s to 1400s England.
    4. Watchsearcher Watchsearcher, 3 years ago
      Sorry! It’s Atlas Obscura, not Gastro Obscura!
    5. anile2010 anile2010, 3 years ago
      Looks like a somewhat Renaissance Mephistopheles or Mephisto! A pale man with very sharp features, pointed beard, slanted eyebrows, the costume enhances his natural appearance. Although not dressed in fine Renaissance clothing—his pants are as tights which disappear into pointed shoes—on one foot. And plaster perhaps?
    6. Watchsearcher Watchsearcher, 3 years ago
      Anile2010 has correctly identified the man depicted in the figurine. Many interpretations of Mephostopheles on line are enough to give a person nightmares!
    7. RobinCarsberg, 3 years ago
      Huge thanks to everyone for your very helpful and informative comments. My friend is really thrilled and sends her thanks. What a lovely, wonderful bunch of folks you all are. Although quite badly damaged this figure is very important to my friend because it has had a hard time. Just to give you a bit more background this particular figurine has survived two bomb blasts in the Second World War hence why he’s glued together poor guy!! He’s about 1920’s we think but might be earlier? If anyone finds any more information or sees a similar figure we would be so grateful if you let us know. Thanks again everyone. Robin.
    8. Watchsearcher Watchsearcher, 3 years ago
      Robin, I did see a very similar figurine done in bronze when I Googled Mephostopheles and looked at images. That figurine had almost identical stance, posture, one hoof and one shoe with long pointed tip, same hood, cloak, long thin legs in “tights”, etc...only difference was the arm position, and that was slight.
      I hope this helps. :-)

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