National doll produced to represent an Italian woman, it is one of 10 Italian National Dolls collected for Monica Gates by her mother during an overseas trip in the 1970s. These dolls represent various traditions and dress throughout Italy. Women's folk costumes in Italy are comprised of several basic elements: shirt and skirt, apron, head covering either a head scarf, hat or both, stockings and shoes. Colour, ornamentation, fabrics and the style of individual items are used to denote regional differences. The doll is intended to represent a Calabrian 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.

Physical Description

Female doll with plastic arms, fabric body, legs and composition head with painted face, blue eyes looking to left. Black hair in roll at front and at ears covered with large white lacy headpiece. Costume consists of white shirt with elbow length puffed sleeves, a yellow bow at the neck and red felt bodice with yellow trim. Skirt of striped patterned fabric with petticoat and underpants of stiffened canvas mesh underneath. Yellow band at hem of skirt and apron is white with green and yellow lace trim. Doll wears flat black plastic shoes. Limbs are jointed. Blue and white cardboard label is tied to right wrist with twine.

More Information