Friday, March 13, 2009

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.

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