Similar items over time

National Doll - Nigerian, 1976 Object Reg. No: SH 940242

National doll produced to represent a Nigerian man. It was purchased for Monica Gates by her mother in 1976. Today (2011) Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa and has over 250 different ethnic groups. Consequently the diversity in language, customs and clothing across Nigeria is significant. Long loose tops, tunics or robes in bright colours worn over pants are often a part of men's traditional dress in Nigeria.

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, wooden, male. He is wearing a yellow shirt and cream cotton trousers with a brown, green and blue patterned sleeveless tunic over the top. There is a large pocket at the back which contains white cotton wool. He is wearing a black, brown and cream patterned cap. He is mounted on a rectangular wooden stand.
Discipline: History
Dimensions: 32.50 cm (Height), 6.70 cm (Width), 13.30 cm (Length)

More information

Tagged with: clothing, souvenirs, cultural beliefs, dolls, national costumes, children s play, national identity, cultural awareness
Themes this item is part of: Childhood & Youth Collection, Clothing & Textiles Collection
Primary Classification: CULTURAL IDENTITY
Secondary Classification: Ethnicity - Clothing
Tertiary Classification: national dolls
Inscriptions: "NIGERIA" (-written on attached paper tag)
Place Made: Nigeria, circa 1976
User: Mrs Monica Gates, Victoria, Australia, circa 1970s-1990s
Other Association (See Comments): Nigeria

Doll intended to represent a Nigerian man in traditional dress

Add your comment

  • Museum Victoria does not provide valuations, for more information please visit the valuation infosheet
  • Please note that Museum Victoria staff will not normally respond to comments posted on our website.


This item is part of the following themes:

Yes No