Friday, November 27, 2009

In Search of Ada Lum


After first discovering the lovely cloth dolls created by Ada Lum, I began to feel very curious as to her life and background. It has not been an easy search, but a very interesting one. I would like now to try and string together some of the information I have uncovered with the disclaimer that the links are still not completely clear and some suppositions have been made.

In the "Sunday Oregonian, Portland," June 21, 1936; American born Chinese actress Anna May Wong writes of her first visit to China. The article is subtitled, "She finds social life of Shanghai even more glamorous than that of American cities." Please note that this is 1936, one year prior to the beginning of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War (which merged into WWII with the bombing of Pearl Harbor) and 13 years prior to the formation of the communist People's Republic of China (when all outside, western influence was shut out of China by the "Bamboo Curtain.") In this article Miss Wong mentions a visit with a woman named Ada Lum.... "After tiffin (a meal at midday; a luncheon) I had a delightful shopping trip with Ada Lum, sister of Gordon Lum, Australia's Chinese tennis champion. (Gordon made his home in Shanghai in the 1930's and perhaps Ada came because he was there.) We went to a number of shops hidden in the byways of the Chinese city, down alleys crusted with grime of past dynasties or in courtyards flanked by ancient temples."

In fact, Miss Lum's residence in Shanghai and her talents and abilities are noted in an even earlier publication. The Chinese Christian Yearbook of 1934 edited by Frank Joseph Rawlinson records that, "Bringing beauty into the home is the aim of Miss Ada Lum, who is a wizard with her hands- and an attractive one at that. Her specialty is decoration of the home, though anything she touches becomes a work of art. She has been most successful in the decoration of children's rooms and nurseries." (pp 87-88)

And Perry Burgess also came in contact with Miss Lum in Shanghai in the course of his leprosy work. He writes in his autobiography Born of Those Years,

"Miss Ada Lum, Chinese in descent and English (?) in citizenship, a friend of many years standing, was a writer who carried a column in one of the English papers. (It should be noted that Miss Lum's niece remembers the Lum family occupation as creating an early Chinese-language newspaper in Australia) Ada was on the Japanese blacklist because of her outspoken articles. Her friends were greatly concerned, but she shrugged her shoulders at their warnings, continued to write and speak her mind, and managed to survive.

She has a pleasing personality and was a leader in community and welfare activities, especially Red Cross work. Some of my most delightful evenings in China in peacetime had been spent in her company when she took me and other friends to restaurants for unusual native dishes. Ada is a cultivated gourmet so these dinners were memorable affairs, although she achieved her fine results by taking tyrannical charge of the restaurant's kitchen until the meal was served to her liking. Ada took it upon herself to be our guide, showing Cora and me the wreckage of the city. The people, their homes destroyed, simply camped on the streets or in the doorways of half-shattered buildings." (pp148-149)

This brings us to Miss Ada Lum's community service in the early stages of war. Evidently she had already begun working with the Red Cross as in "China Monthly Review," a Shanghai English language journal published by John W. Powell, she was noted for having written at least two articles related to this humanitarian work. One was a special Red Cross supplement of December 4, 1937 entitled, "Hospital for Refugee Children."

An article in the "Rochester Democrat and Chronicle," dated Sunday, January 2, 1938, and entitled "Priest Saves 115,000 Chinese Lives in War;" includes a photograph of Ada Lum dressed in her Red Cross uniform alongside French Jesuit Priest Father Jacquinot. The photo caption includes the information that Ada Lum is the sister of former Chinese Davis Cup player Gordon Lum and was then involved in the aid of Shanghai refugees. Father Jacquinot de Besange is known for courageously setting up a Safe Zone for Chinese in Shanghai. A similar Safety Zone was set up in Nanjing; but as with the rest of this city, it was not truly safe.

I will come to a close here noting that at some point Ada Lum removed from Shanghai to HongKong, but I will leave this and some family background for another post....

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Pauline Bjonness-Jacobsen


pictured (left) 1986 Liberty doll (right) 1985 Jade with Panda

I am always on the look out for lovely cloth dolls - those with sweetly painted or embroidered expressions and great attention to detail in their make and clothing. In doing so, I was naturally drawn to Dolls by Pauline, the company encompassing the fine workmanship, creativity, and heart of doll maker Pauline Bjonness-Jacobsen. While Dolls by Pauline have many delightful vinyl and porcelain creations, I have most admired their cloth ones.

This is truly a family business birthed out of the sensitivity, vision, and artistry of a special woman. Please check out their website and read the "inspiration story" of how as a girl Pauline choose the doll Emma for her own, how Emma comforted her through fear and suffering, and eventually how Pauline saw her own joy made complete in giving Emma away.

Pauline was born in Makkassar, Indonesia to Capt. Josef and Paulina Hoen. She survived internment in a Japanese concentration camp during WWII. Later her family was able to return to Holland. She studied in Switzerland and went on to live in Hong Kong. She met her husband Mick Bjonness-Jacobsen there; and they raised their family all over southeast Asia (Borneo, Singapore, Hong Kong, and the Philippines). Finally they settled in West Vancouver, Canada. Pauline loved drawing and sculpting and out of these passions by the 1970's Dolls by Pauline came into being. Her dolls have been sold on qvc and through other venues, and are quite recognizable by their delicate features and wide intent eyes.

On October 7, 2006 Pauline Bjonness-Jacobsen passed away peacefully in her sleep. She had been diagnosed with colon cancer 3 years prior; and yet continued to work on illustration and doll design. Her children Liesbet, Mikkel, and Ernst; who have shared in the business for over 20 years, continue in her rich tradition of careful attention to quality and detail and capturing the tender charm of childhood. For the love of dolls.

This above information is rewritten from DOLLSBYPAULINE's wonderful site.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Micale Cloth Dolls


I'm posting some photos comparing different Michael Lee cloth dolls. For more information on this doll maker please see my March 15, 2009 post....

Above is a photo of an older Micale cloth mother and baby side-by-side with the 1989 doll shown in my earlier post. In addition to the size difference, the flesh material has changed and the painting of the faces becomes more modernized and simplified. Thus far all of the cloth Micale dolls that I have seen, do have the five fingered hands with two mid fingers sewn together.



The sweet sister doll picture above is very similar to the cloth Micale doll on display at the Mint Museum in Singapore. Both dolls' outfits have the traditional Chinese frog clasps, and the little girl has two children appliqued on her tunic (one with individual loose pigtails).


I am assuming that this particular mother doll is a good bit older than the others, but currently have no way to verfiy this information.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Peggy Nisbet



Because it was not until recently that I began gathering information about dolls and dollmakers, my knowledge is very limited. Where I currently live, I do not have access to English language books whether through a library or bookstore; so most of my data is gleaned from searching websites. In regards to Peggy Nisbet, she herself has written two books on the subject of her life and work: "The Peggy Nisbet Story" and "Peggy Nisbet Collector's Reference Book." I, however, have only this little bit to share....

The Nisbet company produced costume and portrait dolls during the time period ranging from the early 1950's on in to the late 1980's. Peggy Nisbet began making dolls in her home at Weston's Shrubbery in 1952. In 1953 she created a doll replica of Queen Elizabeth II wearing her coronation robes. It was very popular and started her business on the way to international recognition. Her factory was located in Weston-super-Mare (Somerset, England) until it burned to the ground in 1970 taking doll design data and patterns with it. Thankfully Ms. Nisbet and her production manager, Ms. Mabel Perry, were able to recreate most of their costume patterns from memory.

Peggy Nisbet's doll lines included Peggy Nisbet Costume Dolls, the Royal Doulton/House of Nisbet Dolls, & the House of Nisbet Vinyl Fashion Dolls. Some of her doll themes included American Presidents & First Ladies, Dolls of the World, and milestones in the lives of the Royal Family. She was known for immortalizing famous royals, film stars, and political figures as well as documenting traditional dress of countries around the world.

In 1975 Jack Wilson's Canadian Investment Company acquired control of Peggy Nisbet Ltd. and Jack Wilson became Chairman. (The company was then located in Winscombe, Avon, England). He changed the name to House of Nisbet Ltd., and introduced its Childhood Classics traditional teddy bears. Peggy Nisbet's daughter, Alison, designed this range. Later she and Wilson were married and carried on the Nisbet tradition. Dakin UK bought House of Nisbet in 1989.

One source stated that Peggy Nisbet passed away in May of 1996 while another recorded that she died in 1995 at the age of 86. I would appreciate any information related to this incredible woman's actual date of birth and death.

The above information was taken from the following websites:

http://www.n-somerset.gov.uk/Leisure/news-20070724-dollcollection.htm?_Page=35
http://www.thisisbristol.co.uk/wdp/lifestyle/Living-doll-s-house/article-1054573-detail/article.html
http://www.geocities.com/mrspayne223/nisbets.html
http://www.luckybears.com/encyclopaedia_nisbet.asp
http://www.achome.co.uk/antiques/instant_collections.htm
http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/wsmfboldcodgers/history.htm

The doll pictured below is the only Peggy Nisbet which I currently possess. I believe her to represent the country of China.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Ada Lum DiDi



I believe this to be an Ada Lum DiDi (literally translated "little brother" but also used for any very young boy) doll. He is 18" in size with individual fingers, attached ears, and carefully embroidered features. He also has the Chinese style ponytail or cue. Even little children in China today often have part of their heads shaved in warm weather. Usually now, however, a small patch in the front is left unshaven. The interesting thing about this particular doll is that he is wearing split pants. These are typically worn by Chinese children before they are potty trained (which is fairly early), but are fast disappearing in cities with the common use of disposable diapers.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Large Chinese Cloth Doll



I recently acquired this Chinese cloth doll which is a bit of a mystery to me. The seller said he was purchased from people who had lived in China during the 1940's. He is about 21" long and has attached ears and individual fingers. His facial embroidery, however, is unlike the unique small full lips and sweetly upturned smile line of a typical Ada Lum face. His eyes are also thin, but not slightly slanting and lack the large Lum pupils. His carefully constructed outfit (vest, tunic, pants, socks, shoes, and hat) shows wear; and he is one of the few dolls that I have seen sporting western-style short hair.



Thursday, April 9, 2009

Small Pearl Gets a Cleaning



I normally wouldn't wash any part of a vintage cloth doll, but Small Pearl is already so damaged; I didn't feel I could hurt her more. Her outfit is already faded and I can see places were the red edging has bled on to other parts; so I will hand wash it in cold water. I also read an article that said I could, rub cornmeal, cornstarch or talc into the fabric to "clean her." Then I'm supposed to let her sit for 2-4 hours, followed by brushing her well.


Small Pearl's powder "bath" didn't really seem to make much difference (although she has now acquired a nice talc smell). So I am considering plan B. I have also read that I can open a seam, de-stuff her, and then wash her body material. I am considering amputation - doing one leg at a time and seeing how she does.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Dream World Dolls



Dream World Dolls are lovely composition dolls from around the 1940's with painted side glancing eyes and sweet expressions. They have mohair curls and usually some kind of hat or veil - as they often represent a nation, storybook character, historical figure, or bride. Around 11" or 12" in size, they were mass produced fairly inexpensively. Their clothes are stapled on and most wear socks and cream colored shoes. They are unmarked, but can some times be found with their original blue tag. Dolls with their original box and tag are more valuable. My doll is a Dream World oriental.



More information on Dream World Dolls









The following is some more information that I gleaned about "Dream World Dolls" from the article "DOLLS IN 'FOREIGN COSTUMES' AT TOY FAIR IN THE 1940'S" written and photographed by John Axemore. (DOLL READER, Hobby House Press, Inc. Cumberland Maryland 13:2 Feb/Mar 1985: 126-133. Print.) Mr. Axe notes that foreign costume dolls, in general, tend to be dressed in representative regional costumes that are associated with a country. While the authenticity of the doll costumes is questionable, the dolls themselves possess a beauty of their own and are helpful in allowing little girls to see that there are other peoples and cultures out there.

These 11in or 27.9cm dolls of the 1940's were actually distributed by several companies. Their figures being identical, they are acknowledged to be of molds coming from a single source. (It was common practice in the 1940s for one molding company to make composition dolls from identical molds for various firms to market and perhaps finish a little differently.) Two companies, in fact, Herbert H. Krause & Associates (Chicago, Ill) and National Costume Doll Co (New York, NY), distributed the same doll, in almost identical costume, and with like names. Unless accompanied by the "Dream World Dolls" blue tag with the moon, the dolls are almost impossible to differentiate. This fact raises the possibility that the dolls were even dressed and processed by the same source. "Dream World Dolls" distributed by Herbert H. Krause & Associates were advertised in Playthings magazine from February 1944 to June 1947. National Costume Dolls distributed their dolls around the same time period under the names "Dolls of All Nations" & "Fairy Land Series."

Characteristics of "Dream World Dolls" include:
*made of composition and fully jointed, unmarked
*head slightly molded with a strip of waved mohair (not true wig, although one advertisement noted that the their coiffs were styled by Armand)
*blue painted side-glancing eyes (my doll's eyes are an exception)
*stapled clothing
*stiff cheesecloth underclothing, braid trimmed
*white leatherette shoes with a shoe string across the instep

Another company using this particular doll mold was Mary Ryan Company (NewYork, NY). They called their line "La Madelon Dolls" by (not made or designed) Madeleine Frazier. Advertised as better quality dolls with a "french touch," these dolls have removable clothing often tagged with the "La Madelon" name. Their costumes are said to be of little girl length with skirts and dresses falling at either the knees or the ankles. In 1944 these dolls sold for $5-6.

Two other more famous companies also used this particular 11in, 27.5cm mold. Madame Alexander made a Scarlett O'Hara doll and (according to the article) Arranbee, a Nancy Lee. These dolls, however, had cut out sleep eyes and were painted and finished with more detail and care.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

An Initial List of People & Agencies Connected with Cloth & Composition Dolls in Hong Kong

1. Ada Lum - cloth dolls (attached ears and individual fingers) (see previous post)

2. Michael Lee (Micale, Mica-le) - composition and cloth (1946-1996) (see previous post)

3. Tripod Mark - composition & cloth dolls (attached ears and individual fingers)

4. Crown Brand - composition http://breezeb.tripod.com/dollschinese.html

5. The Christian Family Service Center (related to the Church of Christ in China) - a handiwork project which employs 125 families - composition?
A.B.F.M.S. in Hong Kong, "Ling Ling Say Say which, broadly interpreted, means Miscellaneous." the Hong Kong Peak Oct 1968

6. Hong Kong Christian Service HKCS (merger of Hong Kong Church World Service & the Hong Kong Christian Welfare and Relief Council -1967) - "the Handwork Department gives work to 116 workers who because they are (disabled) or for other reasons not easily employable would otherwise be dependent on welfare assistance" - cloth dolls (tagged?)
A.B.F.M.S. in Hong Kong, "Hong Kong Christian Service." the Hong Kong Peak Oct 1968

7. Lutheran World Federation Project - cloth dolls (most seem to have silk outfits, yarn hair, and embroidered features including the ears in black; the fingers are stitched, but usually not separated) These dolls seem very similar to the HKCS dolls which is understandable since in January 1976, "the Lutheran World Service (Federation) merged with the Hong Kong Christian Service and became the service arm of the Hong Kong Christian Council." (http://hkcs.org/about/overview-e.html)


Marketing:
1. The Catholic Women's League "formed Operation China Doll in the United States and marketed 25,000 economically priced cloth dolls made by Hong Kong's refugee women."
http://
Surface, Bill, and Jim Hart. FREEDOM BRIDGE! MARYKNOLL IN HONG KONG . New York: COWARD-McCANN, Inc., 1963.156.

3. SERRV International (created 1949 by the Church of the Brethren, now independent) "The name SERRV is an acronym for Sales Exchange for Refugee Rehabilitation and Vocation.... The program grew from assisting WWII refugees to working with impoverished people throughout the world. SERRV began importing handicrafts from the world's least developed countries as a way to alleviate poverty. By 1960, with the help of Church World Service, a nation-wide network of churches were selling SERRV crafts as part of their mission work."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SERRV_International


Dolls maufactured on the mainland:
1. Shaohsing Industrial Mission, Shaohsing, Chekiang Province, China (now Shaoxing Zhejiang) - miniature Chinese mission cloth dolls usually attached to a card.

"It is estimated that the population numbers three hundred thousand, of whom about one-quarter are engaged in the manufacturing of spirit money. You probably know that this is paper money in various shapes, covered with a thin coating of tin-foil and used in the idol worship of the temples. You can easily understand the acuteness of the problem of a man or woman who, engaged in this business, learns to know Jesus Christ and wants to acknowledge him in church- membership. He can not go on with his business and be true to his new-found faith, nor can he give it up and readily find anything else to do. How are we help- ing him to meet this situation ? Miss Dowling of Shaohsing began the manufacture of dolls and thus started an industry which now employs two hundred people, largely women, who are free to worship their Saviour without losing their means of livelihood. It also gives independence to some who can not live at home after they have become Christians. Today there is a successful business built up in Shaoh-sing, not only in the manufacturing of all kinds of Chinese dolls, but also in the cross-stitch work which is seen so much at present on luncheon sets and handker-chiefs."
PRESCOTT , NELLIE G.. THE BAPTIST FAMILY IN FOREIGN MISSION FIELDS: A MISSION STUDY BOOK FOR ADULTS AND YOUNG PEOPLE . New York: The Judson Press, 1926.140-141.



A set of five family member dolls, ranging in size from about 3"(largest) to 2" (smallest) & still attached to the card bearing the mission name, just raised a bid of $107.50 on ebay (but the reserve price was not met). Other cardless ones have sold from $25-28.

2. And of course the exquisitely hand-carved wooden dolls with elaborately detailed costumes created by the Door of Hope Mission - Shanghai (early 1900's)
Kimport dolls - was one importer of the Door of Hope dolls
http://www.dollsmagazine.com/antique-vintage-dolls/160-chinas-door-of-hope-mission-dolls.html

Lotz Door of Hope page


Sunday, March 29, 2009

Another Composition Doll



I believe that this Chinese looking composition doll may be made in America. I really like her, though, because of her unusual vintage print clothing and hand-embroidered apron. She has a sweet face too.


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Composition Dolls



According to "DollCollecting@About.com," composition dolls are made with "a mixture of wood pulp, sawdust, glue and similar items." These ingredients were mixed and then "formed using molds and allowed to harden. Composition dolls were then painted with a thick layer of flesh-colored paint. On top of the flesh paint went painted features, such as the eyebrows, eyelashes, and lips.... On top of all of the paint went a layer of sealant or varnish to protect the painted features and seal the composition." (Wisegeek.com, 'What are Composition Dolls,"Katharine Swan) In some cases only the hands and head of the doll were made of composition; while the body may have been cloth and stuffing. Over time and particularly when exposed to a varied climate (hot and cold temperature shifts or humidity) the outer layer of paint on a composition doll can develop fine surface cracks called crazing.

This composition process seems a viable explanation of the make up of my non-cloth Chinese dolls. I am still uncertain, however, as to the actual substance of the under layer. I have some question as to whether it might be plastic. This would certainly date any doll with plastics coming in to use in the doll making process in the 1950's.


Monday, March 23, 2009

My Grandmother's Dolls



During one of our trips home from overseas, I discovered an old photograph of my grandmother. I think she is on a tour some where in China. It surprised me. She passed away quite some time ago. My children never knew her; and yet here she was in the very place that we would come to adopt as our home. I have a lot of questions which I never thought to ask until now.

There was a set of Chinese dolls laying around my childhood home for almost as long as I can remember. When I was young, I wasn't very fond of them because of their plain serious faces and dark clothes. But now I wonder about them. Did they come back with my grandmother from this trip? Where were they bought and who made them? They seem to be composition, soft bodies with molded hands and heads. They have a paint glaze "lacquered" over top of the harder parts.

My grandmother's photograph probably dates back to the mid or late 1970's as China didn't re-opened to the western world until after Nixon's visit in 1972. Someone had written "Red China" on the reverse side, which makes me think that it was taken pretty early on. That term for China was only used by the West from the the time of the establishment of the People's Republic of China in 1949 until the 70's. Anyway, I have posted a picture of the dolls below. They are like many other Chinese Character or "souvenir," "travel,"or "tourist" dolls (whatever you like to call them) that I have seen. They are definitely showing wear, but still remain precious to me because of the culture and memories that they represent.


Friday, March 20, 2009

Small Chinese Cloth Dolls



My collection includes these small (10.5") cloth girl & boy dolls in Chinese dress as well. When I originally bought them, the sellers said that they were from the Philippines. I do not know if they were just mistaken or that this type of cloth doll was actually also produced there. Their appearance is clearly Chinese. It should be noted that the Chinese boy dolls typically seem to have a ponytail, actually called a queue or cue. This "hairstyle consisted of the hair on the front of the head being shaved off above the temples and the rest of the hair braided into a long ponytail" (Wikipedia Queue - hairstyle). It's interesting that, while this hairstyle iconically represents a certain time period in Chinese history, it was actually forced on the Han men in the 17th century by their Manchu oppressors. The queue lasted on in to the early 20th century. (This information also came from the Wiki article linked above.)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Michael Lee DollMaker



While searching through web information on cloth dolls made by refugees in Hong Kong, I came across several references to the dollmaker Michael Lee. I confess I am a little confused in regards to the extent of his doll-making. It seems he was involved in the creation of composition as well as strictly cloth dolls from the time period of the late 1940's on in to perhaps the 1990's. A picture from the Mint Museum of Toys in Singapore shows Mr. Lee holding a female composition doll with painted features, attached black floss pigtails, and wearing a blue Chinese tunic and tan pants. Dating from 1946, she is recognized as his first doll. Information about the museum states that their "Michael Lee Collection speaks of an altruistic toymaker who migrated to Hong Kong from mainland China. He led a very frugal life, contributing the proceeds from the sale of his dolls to the education of children and livelihood of fellow refugees in Hong Kong." (http://wolfdesign.biz/h2ikidz/images/C07_Qing_Sponsor/Sponsor_Mint_Museum.pdf)

Another article written by a visitor to Hong Kong who sought out the dollmaker includes the details that Mr. Lee was originally from Shanghai and had passed away in November of 1996. This article titled "Dollmaker Lit Candles for Hope" written by Mary Chandler gives a sensitive portrait of a gentle and giving man with a unique and timeless philosophy on life. At the time of that particular visit, Mr. Lee was crafting cloth dolls with large round flat faces, big smiles, and brightly dotted checks. They also wore the traditional Chinese outfits and some carried babies. I'm not sure if he dated, signed (English & Chinese), and chopped (put the red Chinese stamp) on the foot of every doll; but clearly he did this on some. My composition doll above has the typical round "Michael Lee" tag with "Micale" printed on it, "Made in Hong Kong," and the Chinese Character doll's name - in this case "Sonny." The museum photo of Mr. Lee can be found at the following blog LEE PHOTO (as well as a nice picture of some of his composition dolls). The previously mentioned "Dollmaker" article also includes a photo of Mr. Lee.

I believe the following photos also show Michael Lee composition dolls (a mother & child) as seen in a picture from the Mint Museum.

I am adding a picture of a more recent Michael Lee cloth doll. She carries a baby on her back.



Addendum: An article in the "South China Morning Post "of November 15, 1996; reports that Mr. Lee passed away on November 10, 1996.

Friday, March 13, 2009

More Hong Kong Dolls



These two made in Hong Kong dolls are quite a bit smaller than the farming couple pictured below. They also have black embroidered nostrils instead of natural. The male doll probably represents an average Chinese man or scholar and the female, a countryside mother. An online search surfaced a duplicate doll wearing a cloth baby carrier that ties around her shoulders and waist complete with child doll. The tag attached to this doll has a three-footed Chinese urn printed on it as well as the words "Chinese Doll," "Tripod Mark," and "Made In Hong Kong." They are both quite sweet dolls that I bought off of ebay and are in great condition other than the water-staining on the face of the female.
Tripod dolls link

Ada Lum Farmer & Wife



It has been one of my real frustrations to actually live in Asia and not be able to find out any information about Ada Lum and the lovely cloth dolls associated with her. The male doll here is named the "Farmer" and I've seen the lady referred to as "Amah" and also the "Farmer's Wife." They do not have the normal stamped markings as far as I can see without having to dismantle their clothing more than I want. Each one measures 18" in length. Most ebay sellers say these dolls were made between the 1940's and 60's by refugees from mainland China residing in Hong Kong. The Museum of Shanghai Toys (MOST) in Singapore reports the dolls as being from the 1950's. In addition to these two dolls, I have seen eight other types of Ada Lum Chinese dolls listed at different times for sale online:

*a female dressed in a red tunic & pants with a red ribbon bow in her pigtailed hair and a male with a blue tunic, black vest, and black round cap (all in silk)
*Farmer's Wife dressed in a long qipao or cheongsam type cotton tunic over blue pants, she also has black shoes with an colorful embroidered flower, her hair is made up in a bun
*MeiMei (pronounced "maymay," meaning Little Sister) and a companion doll, DiDi ("deedee," Little Brother), both dressed in Chinese style wrap tops and cropped (possibly split) pants
*Precious Jade, a young lady in a qipao or cheongsam (Chinese silk dress) and stockings
*Boy in a white tunic and blue pants
*and a Hakka minority doll dressed in black peasant clothes (top & pants)



Previously on ebay, a seller noted that Ada Lum produced a "Country" and "City" series of these dolls, but I have not found this information posted elsewhere. Unfortunately their price, though generally reasonable for such lovely dolls, tends to be prohibitive for the low-budget doll collector, ranging in cost anywhere from $50-$200 per doll.

This is just an initial posting which I hope to revise and lengthen with time.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

A Foundling



This little girl is very similar to an Ada Lum doll in that her fingers and ears are stitched on. But she is a good deal smaller and has no markings other than a few blue dotted lines (that show she had a pattern printed on her to guide sewing) and three Chinese characters on her leg (which may mean "only 12" or "only 20" - εδΊŒζ‰). She looks as if she's lead a full and adventurous life. She has a facial scar and many stains. And she had an additional handmade brown knit kimono-like jacket that she wore when she arrived. If anyone has any information or ideas to the story of her life please let me know. And thank you to the folks in England who sent her my way!

Modern Dolls