Small, approximately three centimeters tall ceramic Moomin figures are on display on the second floor at Rikhardinkatu library in Helsinki until Sunday February 28th. The small exhibition focuses on the figures made by Leo Tykkyläinen (1919-1984) in 1950-60. Mass production included several small figures, the most familiar ones were bambies, the three wise monkeys and ten Moomin characters (1956-1963).
The exhibition is to celebrate the 60th anniversary of ten small ceramic Moomins. On February 20th, 1956 entrepreneur Leo Tykkyläinen got the rights to produce ceramic Moomins with an agreement concluded by Tove Jansson and the department store Stockmann. Manufactured exclusively for Stockmann, Tykkyläinen made about 15 000 pieces of ten different Moomin characters in his own workshop.
Several versions of the figures were made:
Moominmamma: closed or open eyes, color of body and apron varies
Moominpappa: white or pink body
Moomintroll: color of body varies, for example white (most common), blue and pink
Snorkmaiden: closed or open eyes, color of body varies, sometimes golden bangle
Snufkin: clothing either pink or blue (rare)
Little My: different colors, green dress the rarest
Mymble: several different colors of dresses and eyes, yellow dress the rarest
Too-ticky: very rare, red or blue shirt
Misabel: apron either pink or blue (rare)
Police Hemulen: very rare, only one known model
When Leo Tykkyläinen got a job at Arabia factory in the beginning of 1964, the manufacturing rights for ceramic Moomin characters transferred with him to the Wärtsilä group Arabia was part of. However, Arabia did not continue the production of the ceramic Moomins until Jansson’s partner Tuulikki Pietilä designed ceramic Moomins for Arabia in the 1990s.
Sources: Brochure of the exhibition at Rikahrdinkatu library & Scandinavian Retro 4/2015
Photos: The first and last image from the exhibition at Rikhardinkatu library, other images from a private collection
Psst! Right now Moomin posters presenting the original Moomin book covers are also on display in the children’s department at Rikhardinkatu library. Posters are exclusively available at moomin.com online store.