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National Doll - Bahraini, circa 1981 Object Reg. No: SH 940155

National doll produced to represent Bahraini man. It was collected by Monica Gates in 1981 on her way to Europe. Bahrain is a small archipelago of thirty-three islands in the Persian Gulf ruled by the Al Khalifa royal family. Bahraini men usually wear the Thobe and the traditional headdress. The Thobe (or Dishdasha) is a loose, long-sleeved, ankle-length garment, in summer they are generally white cotton and in winter may be made of wool in a darker colour. The headdress is made up of a Keffiyeh (white knitted skull cap), the Ghutra (square cotton or silk scarf) which is folded in a triangle and worn over the Keffiyeh, and the Agal (thick, double, black cord) which is worn on the top of the Ghutra to hold it in place. In Bahrain the Ghutra is usually red and white checked or all white. Men may also wear a Bisht (cloak made of black, grey or brown wool) over the Thobe.

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 from Bahrain standing on a plastic base. Dressed in a cream kaftan type outfit. He has cream head wear with a black band. His face is painted on including some facial hair. He has no shoes.
Discipline: History
Dimensions: 31.00 cm (Height), 5.00 cm (Width), 9.00 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: Muslim Collections at Museum Victoria, Childhood & Youth Collection, Clothing & Textiles Collection
Primary Classification: CULTURAL IDENTITY
Secondary Classification: Ethnicity - Clothing
Tertiary Classification: national dolls
Place Made: Bahrain, circa 1981
User: Mrs Monica Gates, Victoria, Australia, circa 1980s-1990s
Other Association (See Comments): Bahrain

Doll is intended to represent a Bahraini man.

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