Friday, July 30, 2010
The Importance of Play Dolls in Angola
In Western culture the current definition of a doll is quite narrow, a plaything for a child. Generally, most dolls in Angola, as in most all of Africa, are used by children, primarily girls, to help them envisage their future roles as adult women, mothers and the primary caregivers in their communities. Though used in play, the forms of many dolls encode important social and aesthetic concepts about appropriate demeanor and the links between physical and moral beauty. Not surprisingly, dolls in different African societies emphasize in both form and decoration, aspects of ideal feminine beauty. They include elaborate coiffures, body ornamentation and physical features that underscore the importance of fertility.
the Ndimba people, who are relatives of the Mwila clans of Southern Angola. This doll was handed down to the vendor by her mother. The centre or core of Ndimba dolls is made from a solid piece of carved wood. Fabric is obtained from the doll makers actual clothing. Plastic, wire and grass fibre rings are as those worn by the owner as bangles. Beads decorate the hairdo,
Ndimba girl holds a similar doll.
Kwanyama Ovambo peoples of southern Angola and northern Namibia carved these dolls as prophecies of future children. Fathers would give these dolls to their daughters. The dolls are rich in symbolism - the obviously phallic shape alluded to fertility and the importance of the male while the blue beads resemble garments worn by Ovambo women. (Information from Galerie Ezakwantu, South Africa)