Sunday, September 5, 2010

Ada Lum MeiMei and DiDi in Silk

Ada Lum Brother & Sister in silk clothes

MeiMei or "Little Sister"

DiDi or "Little Brother"

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Hakka Doll

The Hakka people are said to have migrated South from north central China in as early as the 1400s due to times of wars and famine. Not being the original peoples of the lands they came to inhabit; they were known as the "guest people," which is the meaning of Hakka (in Chinese 客家 Kejia). Hakka communities can be found in Guandong, Jiangxi, Fujian, as well as other parts of China (including, of course, Hong Kong), all around the South China Sea, and even in Australia and the US. One article I read, referred to them as the gypsies of China.* The Hakka of the mid-1900's were a unique people... due in part to speaking their own dialect, not practicing footbinding of women, in a fondness for education, and in their unusual living structures and cuisine. Though known for their hospitality, some Hakka clans previously resided in round fortress-type multi-story, earth homes called tulou. A tulou could house hundreds of individuals all sharing a common family name. The Hakka people were typically farmers, though there may have been fisherman among them as well. Hakka women worked the fields while the men sought jobs in the cities or as soldiers. Hakka cuisine is notoriously different, as the people are said to "have made an art of salting and preserving ingredients (pickling), as well as developing tasty dishes from whatever cheap produce was available." Their more well known dishes include: ja dai cheung (deep-fried intestines), yim guk gei (salt-baked chicken), and poon choy (literally dinner in a bucket)." (*Lonely Planet: World Food Hong Kong by Richard Sterling and Elizabeth Chong, 2001, p25) Some internationally recognized Hakka include actor Chow Yun-Fat and former government leader of the People's Republic of China Deng Xiaoping. There are actually many others as well. These "guest people," though often left with the least desirable land, living in poverty, and looked down upon; seem to have a persistent, patient will to triumph over their circumstances.

Clearly, Hakka people were a special and distinct part of the cultural diversity that was Hong Kong during the time that linen crafter, business woman, and dollmaker Ada Lum made her life there; as seen in one of her following creations....

Information gleaned from:
Lonely Planet: China's Southwest
by Damian Harper, 2007, p372
More information about the tulou can be found in:
Lonely Planet: China by Damian Harper et al, 2005, p340
Frommer's China by Simon Foster et al, 2010, p533
Wikipedia: Hakka People

Monday, May 17, 2010


I haven't posted here in such a long time primarily for two reasons: my doll collection is housed in the states and I really don't have very good images to share with you; and it's just hard to find the information I'm searching for. I do have a little bit more on Ada Lum, but have not found the time of energy to work it into a post-able format. I leave you with these photos of one of my mystery dolls. He looks so much like a Lum doll, though somewhat smaller; and carries the attached tag "Sun Wong Doll" and a stamp "Made in Formosa" (Formosa is an old name for Taiwan).

Note the split pants

If you have any knowledge of this doll I would love to hear it.

Modern Dolls