Here's Why Amish Dolls Have No Faces

If you're unfamiliar with the beliefs and traditions of the Amish community, you might not understand why Amish dolls have no faces. Britannica tells us that the Amish areĀ a devout Christian sect that is known for shunning modern conveniences and worldly pleasures.

One easy explanation would be that the Amish strive to live a simpler life, and so their dolls mimic the plain aesthetic the Amish display through their own humble, handmade clothes and possessions. The truth, however, is that Amish dolls rarely have distinguishing features like eyes, noses, mouths, fingers, or toes, and the reasons are rooted in some of the community's most deeply-held beliefs.

As History 101 explains, the Amish look down on activities and possessions that would bring on feelings of vanity, superiority, or pride. This goes beyond dolls and other toys, as the Amish also shun printed or synthetic fabrics, musical instruments, and even electricity. Amish dolls, therefore, are plain rag dolls, sometimes stuffed with cotton or straw, made with the same natural, monochromatic fabrics with which the Amish clothe themselves: cotton, linen, muslin, and wool. The dolls are typically unadorned save for their minimalist outfits that mirror the clothes worn by Amish boys and girls.

Faceless Amish dolls reflect the community's nonconformist lifestyle

According to History 101, the Amish follow the teachings of a 16th century Swiss Anabaptist named Jakob Ammann, who broke with the Mennonite church to promote the idea of following the Bible more literally while forsaking the secular and scientific advancements of the time. As Our Pastimes notes, the Amish apply this line of thinking to a passage in the Old Testament Book of Deuteronomy that forbids man from creating "graven images" or other likenesses of man. The Amish believe that all are equal in the eyes of God, that only God can create men and women, and so they tend to make sure that their dolls are featureless from top to bottom.

History 101, however, statesĀ  another reason why Amish dolls don't have faces: Some members of the Amish community believe that dolls can be possessed by demons, and these demons can come to life using the "senses" depicted on the toy. The belief that an evil spirit could watch a child playing through the doll's eyes, speak through a drawn on mouth, or grab things with a fully formed hand have kept the Amish from embellishing their dolls with such features.