This chapter opens with a father in Cologne in the 1590s who snapped the arms from a crucifix and gave it to his children as a toy. Returning to the sermon by Edgeworth discussed in the preface, the chapter considers this broken object as what Edgeworth calls an “idoll”--a hybridization of doll and idoll. This possibility is linked to the wider presence of “holy dolls” in medieval Christianity, but ultimately the doll is explored not as a stable and readily identifiable category but as a way of conceiving of ambiguous objects that may be more or less human at different moments and subjected alternatingly to violence and care. The implications of this possibility are explored in relation to a medieval Christ child, a broken crucifix, and a contemporary representation of a shattered doll.
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