As we were browsing through one of the gift shops, Jo noticed that the dolls didn't have any faces. The clerk at the shop explained to us that it was connected with the Amish not liking their photos taken and the idea that a face on a doll would be a graven image.
But I found an alternate explanation that suggested that it was just a custom on the %Lhttp://www.amishnews.com/amisharticles/amishand%20photos.htm]Amish News website:
"As most people know, Amish children often played with faceless dolls. While there are explanations for the lack of a face having to do with the doll’s becoming a "likeness," others say it was simply a custom. Today it is common for the Amish to buy or make dolls with faces, and there are examples of Amish dolls with faces sewn or drawn on dating back to 1900.
Elmer Smith in his 1961 book The Amish Today feels a short story published in a leading national magazine led people to such a conclusion. The December 1937 Scribner’s story called "Suzie" told of an Amish girl who received a doll from her teacher as a Christmas gift. Her father removed the head and replaced it with a stuffed stocking since "only God can make people." Smith concludes that this idea that dolls are graven images "is not nearly so widespread as most people think.""
Whatever the explanation, Jo and I both thought that kids would find faceless dolls a little scary.
I've read a couple of different explanations as to why the Amish do not like to have their photo taken. The first explanation is based on the 2nd Commandment, "Thou shalt not make to thyself a graven image, nor the likeness of anything that is in heaven or in the earth beneath." Another explanation says it has more to do with idolatry, that what is important is your inner self and not your outer self. Whatever the real reasoning is, it is disrespectful to ignore someone's personal or religious beliefs. Besides, I don't think many of us would like to have people pointing at us, staring at us or taking photos of us because they thought we were a curiousity....
Please be respectful of the Amish and their religious beliefs, do not take any pictures of their faces. This is forbidden in their culture. It would be the same as if someone came to your town and forced you to take part in something you felt was wrong.