Most people who know me and my passion for reading also know of my love of historical fiction novels. It occurred to me recently that perhaps that is why I am attracted to dolls. As a girl, I collected dolls from all over the world and proudly displayed them on my bookshelf. Combined with my love of reading, this is one of my earliest memories of being interested in learning more about my culture and others around the world.
I have been researching the history of Armenian dolls, their rituals, and traditional clothing for an article to be published on World Doll Day, June 11, 2022. In the meantime, I'd like to launch Women's History Month by introducing you to some favorites in my collection.
Meet VARTOUHY and HOVSEP.
(named after my great-grandparents)
Vartouhy (Rose) and Hovsep (Joseph) are dressed in traditional clothing from Western Armenia. They are from Gurin, part of the Sivas/Sebastia district. Notice the decorative shawl fabric on Vartouhy's apron and Hovsep's belt. Gurin was known as the center of the shawl weaving industry where the first mechanized loom was introduced and where the most beautiful designs originated.
These dolls were handmade in Yerevan from NviriArmenianGifts.
Meet ANI, DAVIT, and baby ANOUSH.
This stylish family comes from the capital Yerevan, Armenia. Ani dresses in elegance with silver beads adorning the rich fabrics of her taraz (Armenian traditional clothing). Davit is a musician and plays the duduk,which is an ancient Armenian double reed woodwind instrument made of apricot wood.
Early Christian historians attributed the origin of the name Yerevan to an expression exclaimed by Noah. While looking in the direction of Yerevan after the ark landed on Mount Ararat and the flood waters receded, Noah is believed to have exclaimed, "Yerevats!" (it appeared!).
These beautiful dolls were handmade in Yerevan by Alina Davtyan.
Arpi is from the Arabkir-Malatia province, next to Kharpert in the 19th century. Her green dress with gold thread was common in this region as well as in western Armenia. Green has long been considered a symbol of health, prosperity and abundance. The gold thread symbolizes nature and fertility.
Arpi was handmade in Armenia by EmAni and distributed through Buy Armenian.
Meet GARINEH and her daughter GAYANE.
Garineh and Gayane are from the town of Meghri, located in southern Armenian. Meghri is the only location in Armenia that produces pomegranate and is known for high quality figs.
In Armenian mythology, the pomegranate symbolizes fertility and abundance. The fruit is the Armenian symbol of life. Tradition tells us that each mature pomegranate has 365 seeds, one for each day of the year.
I found Garineh at my church‘s holiday bazaar for a gift to my daughter. Her daughter, Gayane, was custom made by the Talin Women's Resource Center (see below)
Meet AROUSYAG, SARKIS, and their son, ARDASHES
(named after my grandfather and his parents)
This lovely family is from Palu, part of the Diyarbekir province in western Armenia. Their traditional clothing and smiles represent the four elements of the Earth: soil, water, air, fire. Palu is the site of the famous cave where the Armenian monk, Mesrob Mashtots, is believed to have created the Armenian alphabet.
The making of Arosiag, Sarkis, Ardashes, and Guyane are part of the Talin Dolls project and represent the past, present, and future.
The Talin Dolls project is the effort of the Talin Women's Resource Center to provide an appealing product in a socially responsible manner. Handcrafted dolls are dressed in the regional outfits of greater Armenian.
The Talin Dolls project hires women from nearby villages and trains them with skills to be self-sufficient. Every doll sold directly supports the woman who produced it.
During the month of March, Women's History Month, let's give these women the financial support to help sustain the mission and successful outcomes for the women and families they nurture. Please join me in supporting the crowdfunding effort for The Talin Women's Resource Center. The mission is dear to my heart and helps to preserve historical fiction and non-fiction through the hearts of dolls.
Click here to donate now.
Thanks again to everyone who is following my journey. If you enjoy the topic of dolls, please check back around June 11 to read more on World Dolls Day. But don't wait - very special content will be shared during Women's History Month in my blog, Facebook, and LinkedIn pages. Please be sure to like/follow so you don't miss anything.