Chapter 22 Animal Figures
See Chapter 8 - Main and subgroups of toy classification
Animal figures drawn and scratched onto cave walls all over the world date back to between 10,000 and 20,000 years ago. Animal figures hewn in stone or formed in terracotta and clay date back to 5,000 years BC. The early animal figures represent both tame and wild animals but the most usual finds are horses, cows, sheep, goats and small pet animals like dogs, cats and rodents.
Sometimes an animal is depicted on a piece of wood attached to wheels, a pull-along animal. Pull-along (and push-along) animals are especially well-loved by children between one and two years old. The oldest extant pull-along animal dates from 1702. Excise men in Copenhagen confiscated it during the Christmas period along with other toys sold illegally by women in the city (see Sigsgaard & Varnild (1982:150)).
Among other toys confiscated, there were horses on wheels and a large number of clay figures of ordinary farm animals and birds.
Farm animal figures as part of a farmyard concept are favourites with boys especially, while wild animals in a zoo concept (in earlier times, Noah’s Ark), are girls’ favourites. These two kinds of concept are used particularly by the youngest children (1-6 year olds) while soft toy animals feature in all children’s toy collections and are attributed great value and significance.