Help me learn about these my grandma's antique peasant statues.
September 16, 2019 2:13 PM   Subscribe

Who ARE these odd little hobbits that my grandmother loved so much?

We used to joke that if her house was on fire, these two figures are what my grandmother would carry out the door. I had a special relationship with her and, now, these peasant children flank our fireplace to bring me joy. Guests always ask me about them and I don't know anything except that Grandma loved them! They were very valuable to her at least. The only marking is a stamp Tunika on the bottom with a crown emblem. They stand 24" tall. I've been told they look Italian. Two pics: 1 and 2.

Does anyone know anything about them? Or can you advise how I might learn more (meaning, source, anything)? I have no interest in selling them, but am just curious about these odd hobbitesque creatures that Babs loved so much.

Thanks all!
posted by letahl to Media & Arts (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
you might check on reddit's what is thing thing section.
posted by KleenexMakesaVeryGoodHat at 5:28 PM on September 16, 2019 [1 favorite]

Was your grandmother by any chance Italian? I ask because the pictures look a lot like presepi figures. Presepi are super-elaborate Nativity scenes, and there has long been an industry in Naples of hand-molding and painting presepi figures. They show up in all different themes, time periods, dress, characters, etc.
posted by Miko at 6:27 PM on September 16, 2019 [5 favorites]

The woman's hat also looks very Italian, specifically from 19th century or early 20th century idealized Italian "peasant costume". Looks very similar to the hats the women are wearing in this image and this image from 19th C Campania are wearing, or this one from Emilia Romagna.
posted by strangely stunted trees at 6:35 PM on September 16, 2019 [1 favorite]

Do you have a picture of the maker's mark on the bottom? That might help.
posted by Lady Li at 4:40 AM on September 17, 2019

I'm pretty certain Miko has it, I tried to google "precepe tunika" and variations hereof with no good result. They do it in Spain, too, but my results with Catalan were even worse than in Italian.
posted by mumimor at 5:26 AM on September 17, 2019

@lady li - yes! It is the picture #2 hyperlinked in the post, you should be able to see it?
posted by letahl at 8:24 AM on September 17, 2019 [1 favorite]

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