National doll made to represent an Egyptian woman, it was given to Monica Gates by the Egyptian President Gamal Nasser, circa 1961. Nasser's daughter was named Mona so he began to send Monica Christmas cards yearly. Gamal Nasser was president of Egypt from 1956 until his death in 1970. The doll is described by Nasser as a peasant-girl doll. The headdress is most likely a milaya lef, which consists of two lengths of black fabric, which wrap around the body. Long colourful dresses with long-sleeves were worn by Egyptian women inside the home, although many would wear a black overcoat in addition to their milaya lef when in public.

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, made in felt. Wears 3/4 under pants in pink cotton, a long, red cotton full length slip and a full length cotton dress. The dress has long sleeves and at her breast line and around the bottom is a blue ribbon as a decoration. Around her right wrist she wears a bracelet in cooper colour. She wears a gold pearl reckless around her neck and gold earrings. On her head she has a yellow cap, a black scarf hangs over her upper body and have of her face.

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