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National Doll - Thai, Dancer, circa 1963 Object Reg. No: SH 940277

Summary:
National Doll produced to represent a Thai woman, it was brought for Monica Gates by her landlord in 1963. The doll is dressed to represent a temple dancer. Dance in Thailand is the main dramatic art form; it can be divided into two major categories classical dance and folk dance. Classical dance originated in the royal courts and temples, before a version was adapted for viewing by the general public. The elaborate costumes have been retained from the period when this type of dance was only performed before a select few. The costume consists of a long sleeved blouse, chong kraben (three quarter length pants worn under a skirt where the cloth is gathered and threaded between the legs) and a tired crown/headdress.

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:
The stance of the doll appears to be representing a traditional thai dance. It wears red knee-length pants with red stitching around the bottom. Over these there is green material wrapped around and through the legs. Around the waist a red sash is tied. Hanging from this there are three blue sashes decorated with beads and sequins. The doll has a gold top with long sleeves. On the shoulders is red material which comes into points above both shoulders. These points have tufts of orange on them. The chest is decorated with beads and sequins. Also on the chest is a brooch which is studded with imitation diamonds. There are three other similar brooches, one on the stomach, and one on wither hip. The doll wears a tall gold headpiece which comes to a point on top. This is also studded with imitation diamonds and has a flower with paper ribbons hanging off it above the left ear. The doll has gold shoes which come into a point at the front. Around the ankles are gold anklets. The doll is attached to a black base.
Discipline: History
Dimensions: 25.00 cm (Height), 7.50 cm (Width), 13.00 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, Identity: Yours, Mine, Ours, Immigration Museum Exhibition, 2011-2021
Primary Classification: CULTURAL IDENTITY
Secondary Classification: Ethnicity - Clothing
Tertiary Classification: national dolls
Inscriptions: On a sticker on the right hip - Siam Doll/HAND-MADE/IN/THAILAND
Place & Date Purchased: Thailand, 1963
User: Mrs Monica Gates, Frankston, Victoria, Australia, circa 1963-1990
Place Depicted: Thailand

Doll is intended to represent a Thai temple dancer.

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