National doll produced to represent a Russian woman, it was given to Monica Gates in 1982. The sarafan (a traditional Russian long, shapeless jumper dress) is one of the most identifiable items of Russian folk costume worn by women and girls. It is still worn today as a folk costume for performing Russian folk songs and folk dancing and as a summer-time light dress. An embroidered blouse is often worn under the sarafan, and a corset may be worn over the top. The head-dress usually worn with the sarafan today in folk performances is the kokoshnik, although in the past a head scarf tied under the chin or at the back of the head was used for everyday wear. The kokoshnik is a tall headdress which can be pointed or round and can be elaborately decorated. It is tied at the back of the head with long thick ribbons in a large bow. The forehead is sometimes decorated with pearls. The woman or the girl usually wears her hair in a plait.

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

This large doll is made of fabric and synethnic polymer. She is wearing a padded long blue skirt, a white shirt with floral red, brown and white flowers on the sleeves and an apron with the same floral designs. This apron is fringed in orange and the doll's long blonde hair is plaited. On her head is a yellow, orange and blue bonnet. The thick padding underneath the doll's skirt indicates that she may have had a functional purpose.

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