Wednesday, January 10, 2018

January Interview with Josien Buijs of National Costume

When did you start collecting?

I started collecting in 1996 (upto the present day)

Turkey Oguzeli Bride
Doll from Turkey, Oguzeli  Bride, Courtesy Josien Buiijs

Have your tastes changed over the years?

Yes, I am much more selective now. In the beginning I purchased everything that looked like a national costume doll somehow. I now try to go for authentic looking dolls with a caracter of their own, not the cheap looking dolls made in Hong-Kong for the tourist market. I skip baby and barbie type dolls too, and porcelain (with an occasional exception to the last mentioned). I have also learned to appreciate dolls I did not like so much before, f.e. the Marin Chiclana dolls dressed in Spanish regional costumes, they are super kitsch but dressed in a nice way.

What are your favorite types of dolls?
I have a soft spot for ritual and/or masked (dancer) dolls because they look so very different, f.e. I have Kukeri from Bulgaria, Snake dancers from Sri Lanka, Pende dancers from DR Congo and more.

What are the characteristics that attract you to a certain doll?
They must be dressed as true to life as possible. On the other hand really primitive dolls can be very attractive too. They all have to appeal to me somehow by what they express. It can be the clothing, the way the doll is made or just a facial expression. In short, I just go by personal taste, not by value, age or how rare they are.

Do you sew for your dolls?

No. I do some easy repairs only. I touched up wool embroidery that was partly eaten away by moths, replaced sequins and beads and put back limbs with new elastic rubber bands.

Are you looking for anything in particular ?

There still are 'missing' countries like Oman, Qatar, El Salvador, Benin, Malawi (and more African countries). In general I strive to find matching couples; male and female both representing the same region. But as males are much harder to find that is sometimes mission impossible.

Josien Buijs

Tunisia Tunis - Souk El Bechmak
Postcard from Tunisia, courtesy Josien Buiijs and

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