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.

No comments:

Modern Dolls