We’ve been selling them for years, but what is the real story behind the Santos Cage Dolls? While they do have a slightly haunting presence, they are actually amazing works of art! So, we decided to delve into the history of these dolls so the next time a houseguest asks, you have the answer.
The Santos dolls take their name from the Spanish word for Saint, and are also known as Santons (French) and Santibelli (Italian). Often found in Portuguese or Spanish communities they were originally created to use as personal altars at home, particularly in small villages that did not have a priest, or where it was not possible to travel to church, such as during times of war. Their development flourished in Europe in the 1700’s and 1800’s, and they were often elaborately dressed and adorned with crowns.
Santos, particularly the females, exhibit a most loving expression that is also complex and thoughtful. Typically, antique Santos dolls have glass eyes but given that they are difficult to find and in high demand the antiques can be quite costly so it is more common to see painted eyes. Their shape is often rustic in nature, yet each doll possesses certain traits with delicate details that make her beautiful in her own individual way. With these serene expressions, dainty features and soft, rich colors, there is something about them that really makes a statement. They have a particular quiet charm, so to speak.
So there you have it. Shop our Santos Cage dolls so you can share what you learned with your next house guest. What’s better than a conversation piece?