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National Doll - Afghan, circa 1978 Object Reg. No: SH 940153

National doll seated as if in prayer, which was produced to represent an Afghan man. It was given to Monica Gates by her mother who purchased it at the Kabul bazaar on an overland camping trip from London to India in 1978.

The doll wears clothing typical of Afghanistan, which for men consists of salwar kameez (loose pants and a long tunic), headcovering (turban or woven cap) and sandals. Additional items depending on season and region may include chapan (long coat) or posteen (long sheep skin cloak), vest, shawl, chamooch (knitted woolen stockings with leather soles), and a patoo/kaish (blanket).Colours and designs are generally plainer than those on women's garment's.

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.
Male doll in sitting position with his feet together. He wears an ankle length, brown caftan-type outfit with pants of the same material underneath. Over this is a cream jacket which is also ankle length. He has a cream and red turban and holds a set of brown, red and gold prayer beads in his hand. His eyes and lashes are painted on and his nose, mouth and brows are stuck on. He also has a greying beard. He sits on a wood base which is covered with brown paper.
Discipline: History
Dimensions: 13.50 cm (Height), 9.00 cm (Width), 11.00 cm (Length)

More information

Tagged with: clothing, souvenirs, cultural beliefs, dolls, national costumes, children s play, national identity, religions islam, cultural awareness
Themes this item is part of: Muslim Collections at Museum Victoria, Childhood & Youth Collection, Clothing & Textiles Collection, Identity: Yours, Mine, Ours, Immigration Museum Exhibition, 2011-2021
Primary Classification: CULTURAL IDENTITY
Secondary Classification: Ethnicity - Clothing
Tertiary Classification: national dolls
Place Made: Afghanistan, circa 1978
User: Mrs Monica Gates, Victoria, Australia, circa 1970s-1990s
Other Association (See Comments): Afghanistan

Doll is intended to represent an Afghani man.

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