The Luk Thep is not a simple doll to decorate or play. They are integrated into the lifestyle of the Thai people, some of whom behave as if they are their real children. At the same time, the culture of the inhabitants, governed by a form of mysticism, considers the dolls a “living soul” and some believe that there is a dead child in them!
People are so tied to these dolls so the Thai Smile Airways would now permit the purchasing of a seat for a Luk Thep doll.
At the same time, the culture of the inhabitants, governed by a form of mysticism, considers the dolls a “living soul” and some believe that there is a dead child in them!
The idea of photographic work came when she found that many people were transporting these dolls to market, restaurants and shopping centers as if they were their own child.
The photojournalist began to meet the owners and share some special moments with them, as it was not easy to talk to them about their dolls.
Every family with whom Mustard met had its own reasons to “adopt” a doll Luk Thep.
They often took it home to bring economic fortune or soften the pain of a loss. However, they believed that the more they cared for their dolls, the better their luck would be.
“Most owners were reluctant to talk about the cost,” said Mustard, “because they consider” human “their dolls”!
However, her research found cheap plastic dolls sold in toy stores, up to those that cost hundreds of dollars.
As Mustard describes, there are also those of the highest quality, with human hair and imported US components made by companies that produce dolls with as much realism as possible.
The size for the usual Luk Thep ranges from the size of a doll known to all, up to that of a small child.
“This is when she was four years old,” she said, pointing at a photo of her carrying a doll called Nong Pet. He sat on her lap with an expressionless face. In a white outfit, Nong Pet was hugged “mother” from the back.