Saturday, July 12, 2014

My Korea souvenir doll

I learned a new word yesterday, hanbok.  Wikipedia said it can refer to both generic Korean traditional clothing or more specifically for the outfits worn for festivals and special occasions.
I discovered this word when I read April Perlowski's blog about some doll items she had purchased recently in Korea.  Here is a link to her blog, Of Dolls:
When I read her new column, I kind of freaked, because I own a doll wearing a hanbok that was very similar, although not identical, to hers.  However, my doll is 32 years old.
This doll was bought in 1982 at the Korean exhibit at the World's Fair in Knoxville, Tenn.  I don't remember what I paid for her, but I doubt it was more than $5.  I was in college in 1982, and had not yet started Barbie collecting.  However, I was already thinking about doll collecting, and had acquired several souvenir dolls of various types in the early 1980s.
After I read April's most recent column, I Googled "Korea souvenir dolls" and looked at many photos of dolls in hanboks, so these are very commonly found dolls, but I did not find one like mine.  The dolls were of umpteen types of textiles and materials.
My doll is 9 inches tall, and glued to a wooden stand about 1/4 inch high.  She has never had a name.  Her head is hollow but it feels like papier-mache or a heavy woven fabric and looks like a Bradley doll head.  (Perhaps Bradley also manufactured these doll heads and bodies?)
I believe her outfit is made of polyester satin, and there is thick mesh under her skirt to keep it stiff and "poufy."  The outfit is glued together and cannot be removed.  The little tube behind her neck to hold her ribbons in place is a birthday candle!  Her hair is hundreds of strands of black (polyester or cotton?) thread that must have taken a long time to get in place.
The stand is covered in black satin.  Those are not manufacture's markings on it but rather just an interlocking pattern like what is printed in gold on the hem of her skirt.
She did not come in a box, as I would have kept it.  There are no markings on her or her stand anywhere.
April's column was about a separately sold outfit that she had purchased in Korea that was way too small for Barbie but almost fits a Liv doll.  I am wondering if this outfit would fit a contemporary Skipper or a Francie.  It looks too broad for an original, SuperTeen or Teen Fun Skipper.
These photos were taken on the balcony of my apartment.  Don't worry, she usually stands in a much safer, sunlight-free, spot!

1 comment:

aprilperlowski said...

I have seen dolls like that still for sale in Korean Souvenir stores. I'm pretty sure that the same company probably makes the dolls and the separate dress that I bought. On my cardboard backing board, it says, Tae Men Toy. It may be the company name in English.
I also have a doll kind of like yours that I got at a yardsale, years ago. Instead of one lady, it is 5 ladies doing a traditional Korean fan dance. The big eyed dolls like that are a lot of fun to look at.