A roly-poly toy, round-bottomed doll, tilting doll, tumbler or wobbly man is a round-bottomed toy, usually egg-shaped, that tends to right itself when pushed at an angle, and does this in seeming contradiction to the force of gravity. The toy is typically hollow with a weight inside the bottom hemisphere. The placement of this weight is such that the toy has a center of mass below the center of the hemisphere, so that any tilting raises the center of mass. When such a toy is pushed over, it wobbles for a few moments while it seeks the upright orientation, which has an equilibrium at the minimum gravitational potential energy.
Different toy manufacturers and different cultures have produced different-looking roly-poly toys: the okiagari-koboshi and some types of Daruma doll of Japan, the nevаlyashka ("untopply") or van'ka-vstan'ka ("Ivan-get-up") of Russia, and Playskool's Weebles. Japanese okiagari means "to get up (oki) and arise (agari)"; the self-righting characteristic of the toy has come to symbolize the ability to have success, overcome adversity, and recover from misfortune.
Traditional Chinese examples are hollow clay figures of plump children, but "many Chinese folk artists shape their tumblers in the image of clownish mandarins as they appear on stage; in this way they mock the inefficiency and ineptitude of the bureaucrats".
Dynamogene Theater stages a performance called "Monsieur Culbuto", allowing the audience to interact with a human dressed as a roly-poly toy.
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- Kyburz, Josef A., "'Omocha': Things to Play (or Not to Play) With" Asian Folklore Studies, Vol. 53, No. 1 (1994), p. 15.
- Lang Shaojun, "Traditional Chinese Painting in the Twentieth Century", Three Thousand Years of Chinese Painting (New Haven: Yale UP, 1997), p. 312. ISBN 0-300-07013-6
- Fisher-Price - All About Play ... stages, toys & tips: Roly-poly bat-at toys
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