Similar items over time

National Doll - Sikkim, Bhutian, circa 1964 Object Reg. No: SH 940262

National Doll produced to represent a woman from Sikkim. It was sent to Monica Gates by Denjon Gyalmo, the American wife of the King of Sikkim, in response to her request for a doll in in the national costume of Sikkim, in January 1964. Sikkim is a landlocked Indian state nestled in the Himalayas, however at the time Monica was given the doll Sikkim was a special protectorate with its own Monarchy. The majority of Sikkim's population is made up of people of Nepali ethnic-national origin, Bhutias, and the Lepchas. The Bhutia traditional dress called 'Bakhu', a loose cloak type garment fastened at the neck on one side and near the waist. Bhutia women wear 'Bakhu' with a 'Honju', a silken full sleeve blouse fastened near the waist with a belt, and they tie a 'Pangdin', a loose sheet of multi coloured woolen cloth, around their waists. The 'Pangdin' is a symbol of a married woman. Lepcha woman wear a full sleeved blouse called tago and a skirt called domdyan, they also often wear head scarfs. While Nepalese woman wear 'Chobandi cholo'. The multicoloured cloth around this doll's waist suggest she is intended to represent a Bhutian woman.

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.
This doll is made of material and wire. She is wearing red and green felt shoes, a long white, blue and green floral dress, and a striped yellow, pink, brown and green apron. The doll has a pale pink shirt, a pearl and beaded necklace, metal and beaded earrings and a red and green felt hat. Her long black hair is braided and decorated with a purple ribbon.
Discipline: History
Dimensions: 24.50 cm (Height), 5.00 cm (Width), 8.00 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 & Date Made: Sikkim, circa 1964
Sender: Denjon Gyalmo, Gangtok, Sikkim, 25 Jan 1964
User: Mrs Monica Gates, Malvern East, Victoria, Australia, 1964-1990
Other Association (See Comments): Sikkim

This doll is intended to represent a Sikkim woman. The multicoloured cloth around the doll's waist suggest she is intended to represent a Bhutian woman in particular.

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:

Similar items

Yes No