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Why Do We Love Dolls?

They are human and inanimate, beautiful yet disturbing; made for children but collected by adults. Despite all the new entertainments on offer, dolls still appeal to us. Why?

They are human and inanimate, beautiful yet disturbing; made for children but collected by adults. From the rag dolls of Ancient Egypt to the mass produced plastic fashion dolls of today, they have existed in almost every culture. Traditionally, they have been used to teach young girls to dress well and look after others. So are they still relevant in a world where women are taking on different roles in the home and the workplace?

Mike Williams meets collectors from Syria and Switzerland. He looks at the evidence that playing with dolls develops children’s social skills, and hears how a South African maker was told ‘black dolls will never sell’ in her country.

Produced by Hannah Moore

(Photo: Dolls faces. Credit: V&A Museum)

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