Russian Dolls, also known as Matryoshka doll or Russian nesting dolls are a significant part of the Russian culture.
Crafted from wood and adorned with attractive paints they are placed one after the other in decreasing size.
These dolls are tantamount of Russian handicrafts. Due to their uniqueness and attractiveness they are highly admired by people across the world.
Magnificent work of arts they can brighten up at any place of your home and is also a superb gift for any occasion.
History of Russian Nesting Dolls
Vasily Zvyozdochkin, a craftsman and a doll maker introduced these handmade Matryoshka dolls in 1890 which were painted by a folk craft painter, Sergey Malyutin. The basic theory of these dolls is to rest a smaller doll inside the biggest doll in a nested manner until the space is packed with the smallest little doll inside.
The number of dolls placed inside may vary depending upon the artist. Vasily creation’s was composed of eight dolls altogether. In his creation, the outmost stature was a girl adorning a traditional costume and holding a rooster while the smaller figures were some girls and a boy and the last and final stature was of an infant.
The inspiration behind Vasily Zvyozdochkin and Sergey Malyutin’s creation was a Japanese doll, which was either a hollow, rounded daruma doll or fukuruma nesting doll.
In 1900, the wife of Savva Mamontov, a Russian industrialist and patron of the arts presented these mesmerizing dolls in Paris at an international exhibition and they were not only internationally recognized but also awarded with a bronze medal. These acknowledgements inspired Russians and soon many craftsmen started creating beautiful nesting dolls.
Generally, a nesting set comprises of dolls with the same theme, that could be anything from “farm” “festivals” to “politicians”. When the outermost doll is taken off by separating the top and base, it exposes a doll underneath that is faintly smaller to it. This doll too will have a smaller doll inside which again will reveal the next smaller doll.
After opening dolls one after the other, the tiniest doll will emerge and this doll is not void and cannot be taken off or unscrewed. Conventionally, the quantity of dolls in a nesting set is anything from five to nine, however now, there are several sets that are even up to a dozen.
The initial Russian dolls were typically illustration of female peasants in Russia but today there are numerous diverse themes for you to select. Few of the common themes include flowers, caricatures, animals, portraits, musicians, Christmas, religion, Easter, athletes, politicians, movie stars, robots and astronauts.
Design, Shape and Pattern
Russian nesting dolls have a curved top and they are almost cylindrical in shape without any obtruding feature. In a conventional set, the outermost shape is usually of a woman embellished with a safaran while the smaller dolls are either female or male and the innermost doll, the tiniest one is an infant.
The term “Matryoshka” in the Russian language means “little matron” this is the prime reason why the outer doll is mainly a woman. The metaphors that are illustrated and painted on the Russian dolls can be very complex and the craftsman needs to have stupendous painting expertise as well as scrupulous attention to detail to craft them.