In an effort to allow his doll collection to inspire the younger generation and cultivate more talented designers, Lin has in recent years been putting his Barbie dolls on display across the country.
“There is no essential difference in the nature of men and women who play with dolls … what matters most is having respect for each other,” Lin said, urging people not to let a fear of what other people may think keep them from loving what they want to.
As for 39-year-old Taiwanese jewelry designer Jadis Cheng (城兆緯), his collection is more furry and animal-like — a line of Japanese stuffed toy monkeys called Monchhichi that was first released in 1974.
Dubbed “Chicaboo” in the UK, “Mon Cicci” in Italy and “Kiki” in France, Monchhichi was popular in the 1970s. They came in the form of stuffed monkeys, with their faces, hands and feet made of soft plastic and their bodies consisting of brown fur.
However, with most of the furry dolls’ manufacturing lines having moved to China, they are now made of tougher plastics and come with brown eyes instead of their original blue eyes.
Explaining that Monchhichi is a representation of his childhood, Cheng said that since he was little, his family and relatives often purchased the dolls for him as souvenirs from their overseas travels.
“So, when Monchhichi entered the Taiwanese market in 1992, the idea to collect various styles of the dolls started growing in my head,” Cheng said.
He added that he then began collecting the new version of Monchhichi dolls, while searching for originals on the Internet or in his friends’ collections.
While some people collect Monchhichi dolls that come with different costumes or colored fur, Cheng said that he prefers the original version, which had distinctive facial expressions.
Apart from being his childhood playmates, the furry dolls have also become Cheng’s traveling companions. Before each trip, Cheng said, he chooses one or two dolls from the collection as his travel mates and has them photographed at different tourist attractions abroad, posing with local residents.