Saturday, 26 January 2019

More Dolls

Due to the interest shown after the previous post I have been encouraged to delve into the cabinet again. 
This is a Sinhalese Devil Dancer - the different head masks have various attributions - dragons, cobras, birds etc. The Devil Dance was a unique practice in the southern part of Sri Lanka. It was performed to free a person or place from demons, evil spirits or bad luck caused by malignant spirits. It was also done to cure a patient from certain ailments. 
This doll wasn't bought when we visited Sri Lanka last June, but was purchased 40 years ago following a visit by my husband.
These two dolls came from Cuba. Whenever we could we have bought dolls made and sold by local artisans and not manufactured dolls, but of course, that is not always possible. Handmade dolls, on the whole, tend to have more character and authenticity about them.
 The majority of our dolls were actually bought by my husband when he travelled the world for the UN. Apart from enjoying seeing them the dolls were a way of giving our two sons, who were very young at the time, a sense of the people and the places that he visited.
This doll comes from Monrovia, Liberia. This handmade doll depicts a Monrovia lady carrying her baby on her back whilst crushing grain. Life In Monrovia is extremely tough, Malaria is rife, and recently they have had that terrible outbreak of Ebola.

These dolls were handcrafted in a Romanian Communist co-operative and represent various different regions in the country. They have a particular charm but belie the terrible situation in Romania for most of the population. We visited at a time when Nicolae Ceauşescu was the President, but neither we, nor the wider world, had any idea about the corrupt regime he administered until the uprising that happened several years after our visit. 

To finish some British dolls. Although manufactured in a small doll specialist company owned by Peggy Nisbet, each and every doll was individually designed by her. No longer produced, her last doll was made 20 years ago. 
I was asked the size of these dolls and on the whole most of the dolls are about 8/9 inches (20/23cms) tall - some are a bit smaller and some slightly larger.
I will not be showing any more dolls - there are far too many still lurking in the cabinet.

39 comments:

  1. I just love all of these Rosemary - you definitely have a wonderful collection if these are just a small part!
    Of these I think my favorite is the Monrovian lady with her baby - such a hard, raw life. Although I've not visited there and I'm sure I never will, I've seen similar circumstances on the African continent (mostly in Zimbabwe) where life in a village under such terrible governments has been, and continues, to be so hard, for the mothers especially.

    Was thinking of you and your dolls this morning and actually put up a post about my Japanese ladies (postcard collection) which we mentioned earlier. . . . . . . .and I linked back to you!

    Hugs for the weekend - hope it's not too chilly there. We're planning to come home in May so please order sunshine and spring blossoms please!
    Mary x

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    1. I have hardly scratched the surface Mary - this is just a small selection. I now think that I will have to spend time writing down information about them to leave in the cabinet for the future. It would be a shame if some of the stories of where they are from etc got lost in mists of time.

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  2. Dear Rosemary,
    I am so delighted that you opened your doll collection cabinet one more time. My favorite group is also the Romanian. I'm impressed with the animation the makers were able to coax from these dolls.
    Your collection is amazing and so beautiful. Thank you for letting us see them.

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    1. Dear Gina - I distinctly remember buying those Romanian dolls at a market in the local town. I also bought myself one of those embroidered blouses that the girl dressed in blue is wearing. What I particularly recall is that we had a blind girl travelling with us and I took her along with me as she wanted a blouse too. I would pick up a blouse for her and she would run her fingers over the embroidery and material and would explain to her the colours that had been used. We both returned back to the hotel with a blouse each.

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  3. Hello Rosemary, My favorite here is definitely the Sinhalese devil dance--so much personality. Your comments pose an interesting problem. These dolls show the best face of their societies, and that is a good way to think of them and get to know them, but at the same time we must understand the difficult lives some of these people have, and that what is picturesque in a doll might not be so much fun in real life! Overall though, this collection is a great documentation of many diverse cultures, and illustrated the global appreciation that went into its formation.
    --Jim
    --Jim

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    1. Hello Jim - I particularly like the devil dancer too .
      I had a look at Monrovia on the internet and was totally shocked at what I saw. I have seen poor places in China, South America and India etc but nothing remotely as bad as Monrovia.
      We were greatly disturbed by the information concerning Romania and the uprising that began several years after we visited. We had absolutely no idea of what life was really like for the people when we visited. I do recall and was shocked to see older women pulling wooden ploughs in the fields.

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  4. The devil dancer is particularly striking.

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    1. Good - glad you enjoyed seeing him William.

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  5. Such wonderful little works of art! Thanks for sharing the ones that you did.

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  6. What a wonderful collection. The handmade dolls really reflect the life that the maker lived and observed. Thank you for sharing these.

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    1. I haven't looked at these dolls for years Lorrie - they live in a well sealed glass cabinet so hopefully are well protected.

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  7. What a beautiful and varied selection from your collection. They are all in pristine condition and I feel privileged to see them here. I especially like the mother in Monrovia and the story it conveys of how difficult life is for many people in such countries.
    Thank you for sharing them, Rosemary.

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    1. As I mentioned to Jim above - I looked at images on the internet of Monrovia and the place looks like hell on earth. I then said what I had seen to my husband as he was the one that had visited there, and he said that it is the most deprived place that it had ever visited - and he has been to many parts of the world.

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  8. They are just gorgeous Rosemary.
    Thanks for showing them.

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  9. You have quite a collection, thanks for sharing.

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  10. Where do you have the Romanian dolls?!
    I am a "child" of Ceausescu ... of the golden age ... :))

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    1. I am sorry Ella I do not quite understand your question 'where do I have the Romanian dolls'? Do you mean where did I buy them? I bought them from a small coastal town near Constanța, I then travelled to Bucharest before finishing up in Brasov, Transylvania.

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    2. Of course it was a confusing question ... but was Sunday! :)))
      Thank you that you answer me!
      Have a nice week ahead! <3

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  11. A wonderful collection , some truly beautiful and precious dolls ! I didn't know Monrovia was such a difficult country , will Google it and become wiser.

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    1. Thanks Jane - Monrovia is actually the capital of Liberia, I should have made that clearer.

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    1. I had forgotten just exactly how many we actually have.

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  13. These are wonderful...museum quality. You seem to have much more interesting treasure in your cabinets than I do.Sounds like your husband got to see a lot of the world.

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    1. You are right Janey - he want to many places years ago that people now are only just beginning to explore.

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    1. Hope you enjoyed it - thanks for your visit.

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  15. A very interesting idea to buy original and cute dolls in the countries where it was. Keeping them in a glass secured cabinet is a good place. Greetings.

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    1. Thanks Giga - these dolls are quite old now, we do not collect them anymore.

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  16. Dearest Rosemary,
    Even though all of your dolls have lots of stories to tell, the ones from Romania speak loudest to me.
    Guess because I've watched the Romanian TV a lot during the year that we worked and lived in Italy.
    Indeed, very shocking once the communist regime got broken open after its fall! And such beautiful traditions and handicrafts certainly all suffered. Like in Hungary where we did visit during the communist period. The incentive to work got also killed as all got paid equal... Very sad period and still the scars are visible, it takes several generations to heal from it.
    Your husband no doubt has seen many faces of the peoples on this planet and you yourself too, as you mentioned above that you saw elderly Romanian women pulling an ancient wooden plough... It makes one cringe and there is no comparison between the 1st world problems and the 3rd world or oppressed peoples circumstances. For as long as we live, we have absolutely no right to ever complain compared to those...
    Thanks for sharing!
    Hugs,
    Mariette

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    1. Dear Mariette - thank you for your astute observations. It is important for us all to be aware of how others live, survive, and dwell within the most dreadful circumstances, and yet are able to so with a cheery outlook whilst facing great hardships. I have often marvelled at the way Indian ladies look so graceful and beautiful whilst toiling long and hard in paddy fields dressed in their colourful saris. We tend on the whole to take all of our convenient way of living too much for granted. Everyone should know and be aware of the fact that the world is far from equal.

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  17. You have some lovely dolls Rosemary, I particularly like the Romanian ones, and the Geisha girl from your previous post is beautiful. I'm now going to catch up on all your posts that I have missed.

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  18. Your doll cabinet is so fascinating internationally, looks like mini United Nations. I see craftsmanship in each doll. I saw a doll from Japan in the previous post, too. Its authenticity reminded me of my late mother’s Ichimatsu Doll as a dress-up doll which had both summer and winter kimonos.

    Yoko

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    1. Thank you very much for that information Yoko, I am off to look up Ichimatsu on the internet now.

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