One of the most interesting things about working at a toy museum is seeing all the dolls that donors brought back as souvenirs from their world travels. (Though I’ve learned that some of them actually were not souvenirs, but came from Kimport, which was a very unique kind of doll club.) I’m rather envious of the variety this gave their collections, and if I ever manage to do the traveling I want to in the future, I absolutely intend to bring back dolls from every place I visit.
In the mean time, I have a few of that type of doll, though very few of them are currently from my own personal travels. I’ll be going in roughly the order of acquisition, because otherwise I’d never figure out how to go about this. (Though I’m not entirely sure the order is right.)
This little wooden doll is a genuine travel souvenir, but I’m not the one who did the traveling. Some relation or other (some sort of cousin, I think, but since I don’t remember who it was, I can’t be sure) went to China, and brought this back with them. They gave it to my parents (or just my mother?) as a souvenir, and somehow it ended up with me. Possibly I’m the one who broke it, and that’s when it ended up as “mine.” It used to have something on the top of its head, but it’s been broken so long that I no longer remember what it was. It may have been a little wooden bun or topknot.
I think this pair of cloth Navajo dolls was bought when my whole family went on a driving trip to Arizona, but I’m not entirely sure. (I’ve been to the Four Corners region of the Southwest probably about five times, so it’s hard to remember what happened on which visit.)
My father brought me this as a souvenir when he went on a business trip to Venezuela. I’m not sure I appreciated her at the time, but I think she’s pretty neat now.
This Navajo doll is also a clothespin doll. I’m not actually in the least sure when I got her, but I know I bought her out west, so it had to be quite some time ago. I’m thinking it was probably on my second-to-last trip there.
My high school had an annual fund raiser that was, essentially, a giant garage sale for anything that the students’ parents didn’t want. And it was a private school mostly full of rich kids (unlike middle class me) so there were sometimes some pretty cool things on sale there. These two Thai dancers came from that garage sale.
This doll also came from one of those garage sales. She’s kind of in sorry shape, though. All those ornaments in her hair were probably originally painted gold. The little tag by her feet says “Snow Queen,” so she’s probably supposed to be a yuki-onna, or at least performing in a Noh play about a yuki-onna.
I have a number of kachinas — which aren’t, strictly speaking, dolls in the usual sense — and I have no idea exactly when I got them. Some of them came from my trips out west, and some of them were bought here.
Those cute little clay figures (which I probably should have moved off the shelf before taking the picture) were bought at a local art show, though the artist isn’t local. (I think she was living in Oregon or Montana or someplace else northwesterly like that. But from her accent — and the Baba Yaga hut tea light holder I also got from her — she was originally from somewhere in Eastern Europe. Given that I’m showing pictures of some of her work, I feel like I really ought to give her credit by name, but I don’t know what her name is, so I can’t.)
I know this little kachina under the dome was the last one I got. I think I got it in college, on my last trip to Arizona (where my aunt was living at the time, so I was more visiting her than the place), but I’m not 100% sure of that. I apparently have a memory like a…like a…like a thing with holes in.
This one came from a local antique mall. I’m afraid my attempt to clean the dust off her stand wrecked up the hair trailing off the helmet she’s carrying. 😦
Strangely, this too came from an antique mall, even though she’s made by a modern (Native American) artist. Again, not strictly a doll, but…I just wanted a chance to show her off. 😀
Yay! Finally a world travel doll that represents my own travels outside the country of my birth! 😀 I bought her in Lima; there were a number of people dressed in traditional Andean garb selling various things in what I guess you’d call an informal market in a small plaza, and while everyone else in my group was looking at the woven bags and clothes and such, I was looking at all the handmade dolls like this one. I feel pretty badly about it, though: the woman was trying to get me to buy two by offering me a bit of a discount if I did, but since this was the only one I really liked, I only bought the one. I really should have bought two and given the other to this one cousin of mine, who was still fairly young at the time. After all, that woman probably really needed the money, and I didn’t, so…what do you call that? Not-buyer’s remorse? (The worst part about that is that like all the souvenirs I got in Peru, they were actually really cheap when you convert back to US money. Somewhere in the neighborhood of the price of a soda at a movie theater. So it not only was money I didn’t really need, it was an inconsequential amount of it.)
Anyway, if you’d like to see the gallery for this post, it’s here. But the only things in there that aren’t in the post are a couple of other shots of the Venezuelan doll.