FINE RUSSIAN CRAFTS: HAND-MADE, HAND-PAINTED MATRYOSHKA DOLLS

Your Russian vocabulary word for the day is “matryoshka.”  The word means “little matron” and is the diminuative form of the Russian woman’s name, Matriona.  For our purposes, the name can be translated as “Russian nesting doll.” These dolls, turned on a lathe, were made in diminishing sizes, cut in half, and placed inside each other, smallest to largest.  The smallest doll was turned from a single piece of wood.

The first “matryoshka” set was made in 1890.  Traditionally, the outer doll was a woman and the figures inside could be either gender.  The innermost doll was typically the baby of the family.  Over the years, many themes have 2 doll sets1been used.  Recently the dolls even included replicas of Russian leaders.  Some other themes include floral designs, holidays, religious figures, politicians, movie stars, athletes, musicians, animals. and peasant families. For a time I had Eskimo family nesting dolls in my shop.

Many of these dolls are quite beautiful, displaying elaborate design or Continue reading