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Thai Dolls

Dolls in Thailand were not only playthings for children, but often had superstitious connotation as in the west (and even sometimes the present), where a doll, usually of wax, had pins stuck in it to cause harm to whoever the doll represents.

Dtoog-Dtaa Chow Baan: Village Dolls

These clay dolls represented the everyday life of the common people. They are small (about 3 cms high), and their production dates back to the court of King Rama IV . Dolls of this type were only produced in area of central Thailand, Baan Bang-Sadet in Paa-Mok District of Ang Thong Province and Muang District of Ayutthaya province, a cottage industry of the farming families after the harvest.

The sculptor would mix the materials of clay and paper pulp , and ferment the mass for days. Once miniature clay dolls are made, the end-product had to be dried for days. Finally, the makers paint with various colors. These dolls are not for game playing, but rather they were for beauty. Furthermore, these dolls indicated the traditional and culture of that time.

Dtoog-Dtaa Din Niew: Mud Dolls

dolls These are small models of animals and plants seen around the farm. They are no bigger than a hen's egg, and usually made of mud from the rice field, dried in the sun or fired. Small boys developed a game where they tied their dolls up in a piece of loin-cloth, and swung this at their competitor's doll trying to damage the others. It was a pastime for children who were in the field minding their parents' crops.

Dtoog-Dtaa Sia-Gabaan: Headless Dolls

This was a miniature clay doll either glazed or lacquered with the head snapped off--Sia-Gabaan means "losing the head." The belief was that sickness caused by an evil spirit would enter the doll, and that snapping off the head would cause the illness to go away. Often the doll would represent mother and baby, both with the head broken off. The doll was then placed in a banana leaf cradle and left at a crossroads just outside the community to prevent the evil spirit's return. These dolls were found throughout Thailand. The superstitious practise is largely obsolete, although some remote villages still make the dolls.

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