Doll from Scandinavia

Based on the doll's physical appearance, what are some aspects of the culture from the Scandinavian countries (Sweden, Denmark, and Norway) that we can learn about? 

Female doll from Scandinavia 

Photo: Temple Anthropology Museum

Woman wearing traditional dress

Photo: Erling Syringen, creative common license

When wearing a traditional folklore outfit, it was common for women to wear some type of headdress to indicate their marital status. Married women would wear a headpiece, young girls would wear small caps, and unmarried girls would wear a scarf-like headdress such as the one worn by this doll. 

The dress that this doll is wearing is a traditional dress typical of the Scandinavian countries. It is worn by women for special occasions such as baptisms and confirmations but they are most commonly worn for festivals. In Norway, these types of dresses are known as a “bunad,” a folklore costume. The design of the bunader varies based on the region but they are usually made out of colorful wool or silk and adorned with buttons or jewelry. People wear the bunader to pay homage to Norway and honor their homeland. 

Three Norwegian girls wearing traditional dresses and caps.

Photo: Knudsens Fotosenter, creative common license

How can children or individuals who are not familiar with the culture of Scandinavian countries learn from this doll?

Although traditional Scandinavian dresses are made in various colors and styles, and the dress that the doll is wearing above only represents one of them, a child who is gifted this doll can use it as reference to learn what to wear to celebrations and what their outfit symbolizes.

References

Lie Stein, Linda. “The Norwegian Bunad - A Modern Tradition in Norway.” Life in Norway, 12 Oct. 2019, www.lifeinnorway.net/bunad/. 

“Bunad Information & Traditions.” Bunad Traditions - Daughters of Norway, www.daughtersofnorway.org/heritage/bunad-traditions. 

LaFleur, Robbie. “See My Hat? It's All About Status.” Robbie LaFleur, 14 Oct. 2011, robbielafleur.com/2011/10/14/see-my-hat-its-all-about-status/. 

Temple Anthropology Laboratory and Museum 

Gladfelter Hall- Lower Level, Temple University

1115 Polett Walk, Philadelphia, PA 19122

anthlab@temple.edu

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