National Doll produced to represent an Iranian woman. It was sent to Monica Gates by her Majesty, Farah Pahlavi, Empress of Iran in 1964. The letter which accompanies the doll states that she is a Bakhtiari woman. The Bakhtiari are a southwestern Persian tribe, who were traditionally nomadic pastoralists. Bakhtiari women have more status and freedom than most Iranian women and many of the daughters of the wealthier families are encouraged to receive at least basic 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. 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.

Physical Description

Female doll with body and head made of cloth. Facial features are stitched on in black and red thread. Hair is long and black and held in 4 thick plaits. Part of the head is covered with a small woven scarf of black, yellow, red and white material, then a long veil of a flimsy red material The blouse is green hemmed with orange braid, and goes almost to the knees. The ends of the sleeves are lined with orange ad white tapestry flared over to form a large fan-like piece starting at the elbow. The forearms are covered with a filmy pink material captured at the wrist with a curled metal bangle. THe skirt is long, full and green, trimmed with white, orange, green and purple lace and a yellow bottom. Petticoat has a pink top then a white skirt hemmed with red and blue thread. Underpants are long and blue with white spots and flowers. There are several gold-coloured discs hanging on a chain around the head and from the veil.

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