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Dolls’ houses – a hobby without frontiers

July 21st, 2011

Yet more evidence of the worldwide appeal of dolls’ houses comes from Taiwan in East Asia.  In the capital city of Taipei can be found the Miniature Museum of Taiwan, the first of its kind in Asia.  The Museum boasts over 200 life-like miniatures built to a scale of 1:12 and the collection even includes a miniature Buckingham Palace which took three years to complete.

In Malaysia the miniature hobby is also beginning to gain popularity, as seen through the creation of a Facebook group known as the Dollhouse and Miniature Association of Malaysia.  Fellow enthusiasts share photos of their work and swap tips on Facebook and even showcase their work to the public with mini exhibits at galleries.

As one of the members of the group, art teacher Lee Yun Jie, 32, says, explaining her own interest in all things miniature, “I was surfing the Net for a new hobby when I saw these amazing handmade miniature rooms in a blog.  They immediately reminded me of my childhood – I used to love playing with Barbie dolls and I would make my own toy furniture because my parents couldn’t afford to buy them for me.”

Her first miniature venture, a framed room box housing a palm-sized cabinet and shelves, was made entirely of clay and wood from scratch.  Since then Lee has created a candy-coloured boudoir, an alfresco garden café and a hawker stall selling putu piring (a local delicacy involving palm sugar and coconut). Some of her inspirations, apart from the everyday, come from Taiwanese interior design magazines.

According to a local gift shop owner, Choo Yoon Tuck, who sells miniature box kits featuring designs which include a French-influenced bakery, wedding boutique and seafarer’s enclave, “In the old days, people thought it a crazy idea that you had to pay for something and assemble it on your own. Now, people have the time and money to do so.  And when you build something from scratch, you get a sense of achievement when you finish, which is priceless.”

We couldn’t agree more. You can read more and see pictures on the Minis in Malaysia here.



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