Southern Elegance 

                      Reflections of the South

African American Dolls


Gens De Couleur Libers, Free people of Color,

  and the Tignon Law of 1786

The Tignon Law doll, originally was created to represent the New Orleans beautiful women of color who were ordered to wear a Tignon (bandanna) on their head in 1786. This law was an attempt to label these African American women.   The concept for The Tignon Doll began in 1991.  However, it  was not developed to my satisfaction until a customer, now good friend, commissioned a doll.   Her name is Marie-Antoinette Langlais. The commission entailed developing a doll  portraying her ancestor, Marie-Constance, who lived in New Orleans at the time The Tignon Law was in effect.    She is largely responsible for the design  of The Tignon Doll, the story is written by Ms. Langlais, and excellently describes the era and the "tignon law".  I wish to express by thanks to Ms. Langlais for her friendship, her appreciation of my work, and most of all for lending me her family history.  The Marie-Constance Doll stands on a hand-crafted wooden stand designed by Brian Bernard. She is 18 inches in height and is dressed in an empire style, white and pick striped dress.  Accessories include: Bible in left arm, Fan in right hand, Pearl earrings. (Note: jewelry and dress fabric/print may vary depending upon availability). The wig is handmade from brown mohair strands.   The mohair wigs lend a natural authentic African American appearance to each doll.  JoAnn's unique doll body design allows Marie-Constance to be positioned in various ways by bending her arms at the elbow joints and by bending her legs at the knee joints. This feature adds to the lifelike quality of the piece. Accompanying the character doll is a booklet and display card designed by JoAnn to include; the number of the piece, the inspirational sketch, a short bio, and a story about the character. All clay pieces are limited editions of 500. A numbered and signed Certificate of Authenticity is also provided with the character doll.

African American Doll


Click here to see detail pictures

Click here or over photo to see detailed photos

A New Orleans Quadroon

Previous Doll PageReturn to African American DollsNext Doll Page

Back to African American Dolls 

Sample Booklet

Click here to view contents of display card and booklet

Clicking of the sample booklet cover (above) will bring you to the story page for this character doll.  The previous and next buttons below photo will surf you through the large doll photo pages. Clicking of the Back button will bring you back to the
African American Heritage Doll page. Clicking any of the icons in the menu options row below will bring you to that particular destination.

ŠJo Ann Bernard

Original African American Dolls by JoAnn Bernard

An original clay doll collection, for the doll collecting enthusiast

Original African American Dolls recreating Louisiana Life in the 1800's.  Learn about Louisiana Culture through this African American Heritage Doll collection inspired by sketches, photographs and stories of the 1800's.  These African American lifelike handmade dolls have attached booklets and display cards with short historical essays about the character.  All dolls are reproduced in clay using JoAnn Bernard's plaster molds developed from her original doll designs. Doll wigs, clothing, dress designs, and props are all handmade by the artist.

Menu Options

Home Page

Home Page

Louisiana Heritage Dolls by JoAnn Bernard

Louisiana Heritage Dolls

Figurines, Sculptured Slates/sketches by JoAnn Bernard

Figurines, Sculptured Slates and Inspirational sketches

Oil Paintings by JoAnn Bernard

Oil Paintings

Duck Carvings by JoAnn Bernard

Duck Carving

Click here to read about me

Doll Making Techniques/Bio


For more information  email: or