Jordanian Novelties IV



Walking through downtown Amman is a slightly spooky experience if you look too closely either side into clothing store window displays. The dummies are like nothing else I’ve seen on earth in the 21st century.

It’s an odd aesthetic: a mid-20th century look with slightly greyed Caucasian skin tones and moulded plastic hairstyles reminiscent of old Bakelite dolls completing the frozen-in-time appearance.

After a great deal of reflection I’ve concluded that someone somewhere probably acquired them as a salvage job lot from a wrecked ship passing through the Gulf on the way to a scrapyard in Bangladesh. It’s either that, or someone somewhere is actually manufacturing these slightly scary figures. But then I might ask, why the greyed-Caucasian model, and not a beautiful exotic Levantine look?

Maybe it’s a broader Middle Eastern aesthetic. Maybe I need to travel farther afield in this region to check it out.

I did discover an interesting homespun alternative in the (really very good) folk museum in Amman. The costume and textile permanent exhibition there uses even more peculiar faceless models. Peculiar, but probably slightly less spooky. But then again, maybe not.



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