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 woman from the historic region of Romagna in Northern Italy, which is today part of the administrative region of Emilia-Romagna.

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 formed of plastic body and limbs and composition head, with painted face, eyes looking. Black hair braided at ears and at back, topped with wide-brimmed straw hat, decorated with flowers at front and long red bow at back. Doll wears hooped metal earrings. Costume consists of long sleeved orange dress with red collar and sequins buttons. Red ribbon at waist secures red floral apron. Doll has white stiffened mesh petticoat and white drawers and stockings. Large tartan cloth held in right hand Black flat plastic shoes on feet. Beige and gold crest shaped label stapled to front centre hem of dress. Arms and head are jointed.

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