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National Doll - Burmese, circa 1970s-1980s Object Reg. No: SH 940156

Summary:
National doll produced to represent a Burmese woman. It was given to Monica Gates circa1970s-1980s. Renamed Myanmar in 1989, Burma has over 135 ethnic groups each with their own customs and traditions, although Burmese culture as a whole has been heavily influenced by the local form of Theravada Buddhism, which is the dominant religion.

Traditional dress for both men and women consists of a longyi (sarong) and eingyi (blouse or shirt), with differences in colour, style and pattern differentiating male and female garments and different ethnic groups. This longyi could possibly represent those worn by, the Mon people which have a red base colour, with partial stripes and small checks, or the Kayin or Kayah longyis which both have horizontal stripes in red or green.

This doll is dressed in clothing which would be worn everyday, seen in the use of the bamboo hat as headwear, rather than jewels, combs, flowers or other ornamentation associated with more formal dress. The two bamboo baskets being carried on a pole over the shoulder is typical of the way various goods were and still are carried.

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.
Description:
Female doll dressed in a pink, purple and white skirt and a red top with green buttons. On her head she has hat under which her hair is tied with a flower in it. Around her neck is a gold chain with a red jewel in it. Balancing on her shoulder is pole with two baskets hanging off it, one at either end. The baskets contain fruit of various types. Her finger-nails and toe-nails are painted. She stands secured to a black, wooden base.
Discipline: History
Dimensions: 21.50 cm (Height), 15.00 cm (Width), 7.00 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
Place Made: Burma, circa 1970s-1980s
User: Mrs Monica Gates, Victoria, Australia, circa 1970s-1990s
Other Association (See Comments): Burma

Doll is intended to represent a typical Burmese woman.

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