The Doll Hospital of Lisbon, the path of two centuries

Brian Bujalance Lisbon, Jan 15 (EFE).- The Lisbon Doll Hospital has been treating special patients for almost two centuries who go through the waiting room and the operating room with the idea of ​​keeping intact the feeling and affection that their parents profess for them. owners. “It is a place where “saudades” are cured, especially childhood memories, and where very old and pampered dolls are sometimes brought, to which we try to give a second life,” Manuela Cutileiro, the ” general medicine” of this particular health center that this year will be 192 years old, one of the oldest of its kind in the world. When the “patient” arrives, a file is opened to find out his problem, he is examined to make a diagnosis and he is assigned a bed number, where he will wait until he is transferred to one of the two operating rooms depending on his seniority and the symptoms. Among the multiple operations are transplants of eyes, hands or fingers: “we take the most similar piece possible and fix it,” explains Cutileiro, fifth generation of the family that founded the center. After the operation, already cured and recovered, the patient is transferred to the main room, where he will wait to be picked up along with the rest. All kinds of dolls and stuffed animals pass through the hospital, “from the oldest to the most current” and, regardless of their age, “they all have the same value.” CARLOTA’S DREAM The story goes back to 1830, when a woman named Carlota decided to make rag dolls while selling dried herbs in a small shop located in the market of the central Figueira square in Lisbon, current headquarters of the Doll Hospital. “People got used to it and since it was the place where the All Saints Hospital was located, destroyed by the 1755 earthquake, they began to associate it with the hospital, then with dolls, and little by little we kept that name,” he says. Charlotte’s descendant. In a symbolic way, even today they sell herbs, but the main job is to cure “patients” from all over the world – most of them from Eastern Europe, but also from Israel, the United States or Spain – who arrive by mail or are brought by “relatives” when they visit Portugal. In addition to curing, at the Hospital they make all the clothes for inanimate beings, as well as carnival costumes for children and typical Portuguese costumes, because they do not sell anything old or second-hand, “a rigid rule” that they fully comply with. A MUSEUM WITH MORE THAN 4,000 DOLLS The center is completed with a museum that has more than 4,000 dolls belonging to the family, either purchased, many of them in Spain, or donated by visitors. The collection houses dolls of all kinds and sizes, from porcelain from the 14th century to German dolls from the 1930s, Mariquita Pérez from the 1940s, religious images, “barbies” or recent stuffed animals. In this way, the evolution of dolls throughout history and the way of creating them in each country is shown, a “reflection of society” present in the quality of the painting of the faces, in the hair or in the materials. employees. Curious visitors, customers and children come to this curious tourist attraction in Lisbon with excursions from schools who, for a ticket of 3.5 euros, learn the importance that dolls had in people’s lives. From the history lived during the almost two centuries of the Hospital de Muñecas, Cutileiro is left with the happiness given to the clients all this time: “Perhaps that is the reason why we have lasted so many years, the fact that we do not work with things but with feelings. EFE. bbo/mar/ig (photo) (video)

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