Stuffed with joy, teddy turns 100The teddy bear has been much adored by children and adults from all over the world for a century. It is not just any ordinary stuffed animal. This timeless, warm and cuddly doll symbolizes peace and happiness, and has evolved to become a true collectible, an investment and even an instrument of healing.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of the teddy bear. To celebrate this milestone, the Korea Teddy Bear Association will be holding several events, sponsored by the Hyundai Department Store chain.
Most notably, a fashion show with teddy bears wearing miniature designer-clothes will be shown along with private collectors' teddy bears. All proceeds will be donated to families without parents. The teddy bear festival ends this Sunday.
Other department stores are getting in on the act, too. The Galleria will be holding special exhibitions to celebrate the birthday of the most cuddly of dolls.
The Korea Teddy Bear Association also offers classes to learn how to make your own teddy bears at its design academies around Seoul. Becoming a teddy bear artist is a profession on its own.
And the trend toward things teddy continues to grow. Special exhibitions have been held in the past at conventions and museums around the world. Last April, the Teddy Bear Museum opened its doors on Jeju Island. The museum houses antique dolls from the United States and Europe, and collectible items such as "Van Gogh self-portrait" done teddy-style and bear dolls wearing Korean traditional attire. The museum sits in a park that has attractions such as ponds and a miniature teddy bear village.
A teddy bear-themed cafe called Cukiro opened in the Gangnam area early this month. Here visitors can enjoy a cup of coffee while admiring the plethora of bears on display.
And to cap things off, the most famous teddy bear manufacturer, Boyds Collection Ltd., has arrived in Korea.
The name of teddy bear originates from the 26th president of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt. While on a hunting expedition in 1902, he decided to spare the life of an orphaned bear cub.
Thanks in part to a cartoon that appeared a couple of days later in the Washington Post, the dollmakers Morris and Rose Michtom decided to name their bear dolls, "Teddy's Bears." The rest is history.
For more information visit www.teddybear.co.kr or call (02) 3143-2080.
by Choi Jie-ho