A roly-poly toy, round-bottomed doll, tilting doll, tumbler or wobbly man is a toy that rights itself when pushed over. The bottom of a roly-poly toy is round, roughly a hemisphere. Many roly-poly toys are hollow, with a weight inside the bottom. They have 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.
The toy can represent a person, an animal, or anything else. Different toy manufacturers and different cultures produce different-looking roly-poly toys: the okiagari-koboshi and some types of Daruma doll of Japan, the nevаlashka or vanka-vstanka 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.
The Noddy stories by Enid Blyton have characters Mr. and Mrs Wobblyman, who are based on this sort of roly-poly toy. One of the puppets/non-human presenters in the TV show Playbus (later Playdays) was a roly-poly clown called Wobble.
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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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