Play, Ritual and Inspiration:

the Phansi Museum Collection of Southern African Child Figures

Play, Ritual and Inspiration is an exhibition comprising of a selection of child figures (often referred to as 'dolls') from the Phansi Museum collection.

Women from across Southern Africa, including those from the amaZulu, baSotho, baPedi, xiTsonga, amaXhosa, Ovahimba and Ovambo communities, skillfully and inventively created these figures. Dating from the mid-twentieth century until contemporary times some were used in rituals around the maturation and courtship of young women while others were made as purely decorative objects or to sell. All engage the imagination and speak about self-representation.

Zulu Doll

This collection forms part of the extensive African artefact collection of the Phansi Museum, put together by Durban architect Paul Mikula and now administered by his son Max. The museum is a non-profit organization, based in Roberts House, a fully restored Victorian National Monument in Glenwood, Durban.

A relevant book on dolls, recently completed by Frank, Jolles, can be purchased from the Tatham Shop. It is called African Dolls - The Dulger Collection (Barnes & Noble, 2011).

Go to May 2011 Programme Outline →
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