540 dolls from 53 counties such as the UK, Germany, the US, Canada, Norway, Europe and Bulgaria are on display this November at Iran’s Nations’ Dolls Museum.
Included in the exhibition are a series of Latin American dolls (pictured here) to introduce the country’s beliefs and traditions in which dolls feature heavily, especially during ‘The Day of the Dead’.
The Doll Museum, which was opened on the International Day of Peace, is a private arts museum established through the joint efforts of Masoud Naseri, Ali Golshani, and with the support of Farideh Naseri. It was launched on September 23rd, to mark International Peace Day, first celebrated in 1982, a global celebration dedicated to world peace, specifically the absence of war and violence, such as might be occasioned by a temporary ceasefire in a combat zone for delivering humanitarian aid.
Many dolls, including puppets and dolls wearing tribal dress, are displayed in the pavilions of the museum, at no.4, Negarestan 5 (Haj Hadi) Street, Pasdaran, Tehran.
Iranian dolls have always been popular and most recently, they were brought up in the news in 2012 when Iran banned the endemic Barbie and all her merchandising, to produce “Sara”, a kind of monobrow Sindy, and Dara, a manner of ‘tribal Ken’, instead. Look at this one of an Iranian woman, sent to Monica Gates by her Majesty, Farah Pahlavi, Empress of Iran in 1964.
It came with a letter stating that she is a Bakhtiari woman; a southwestern Persian tribe, who were traditionally nomadic pastoralists. Bakhtiari women are iconic in Iran for their looks and traditions, and they traditionally have more status and freedom than most Iranian women and many of the daughters of the wealthier families are encouraged to receive an education.
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. Perhaps they will loan some to Tehran’s museum which regularly holds workshops to educate Iranian school children.