National Doll - Austrian, Church Clothing, circa 1950s Object Reg. No: SH 940132

National doll produced to represent an Austrian woman, it is one of 17 sent to Monica Gates by her Austrian Grandparents. Monica began receiving these dolls in 1957, they represent various traditions and dress from eight of Austria's states. This doll has been handcarved from wood. It is dressed in clothing which would be worn to church, which is more elaborate than everyday Austrian folk dress and would include a jacket and headwear which were more highly decorated or of different material than those used for everyday use. Regional differences would be shown through the use of various colours, embroidery and the type of headwear. At the end of the 20th century, about 74% of Austria's population were registered as Roman Catholic, and approximately 5% considered themselves Protestants.

The Gates collection contains 170 national dolls from 74 different countries and some correspondence relating to the acquisition of several of the dolls. The costumes of the dolls represent national costumes from the 19th Century to the 1990s. Monica Gates collected or was given these dolls between 1957 and 1990.

These dolls were purchased as souvenirs of particular countries and like many mass produced souvenirs they are often not accurate representations of a particular country or region, and may actually better reflect neighbouring counties or regions. This occurs because costumes are often stylised and simplified resulting dolls wearing generic costume elements which are common to many countries/regions. Often the fabrics and decorations used are selected to make the dolls cheap and easy to manufacture and aesthetically pleasing. This can result in the fabrics, colours and decorations of the doll's clothing having little or no reflection of the costume associated with a particular country or region they are meant to be representative of.
Doll with wooden body covered by soft fabric with leather black shoes. The doll is wearing a black spotted dress, a peach coloured pinafore and is carrying a book under her right arm. Her blonde hair is braided and held together by an elastic clip. She has a brown top hat with decorative beading and a long black ribbon to hold the hat in place.
Discipline: History
Dimensions: 29.00 cm (Height), 13.00 cm (Width), 9.00 cm (Length)

More information

Tagged with: clothing, souvenirs, cultural beliefs, dolls, national costumes, children s play, national identity, religions roman catholic, cultural awareness
Themes this item is part of: Childhood & Youth Collection, Clothing & Textiles Collection, Cultural Diversity Collection
Primary Classification: CULTURAL IDENTITY
Secondary Classification: Ethnicity - Clothing
Tertiary Classification: national dolls
Place & Date Made: Austria, circa 1950s
User: Mrs Monica Gates, Victoria, Australia, circa 1957-1990
Other Association (See Comments): Austria

Doll is intended to represent the type of clothing which would have been worn by Austrian women to go to church thoughout much of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries.

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