Matryoshka Doll story is a part of country story, it is more than a detachable Russian doll made of wood, inside which are smaller dolls. They are used as souvenirs and educational toys for children.
The story of Matryoshka’s appearance in Russia began at the end of the 19th century.
At this time, the Russian artistic style was developing rapidly in Russia, it spotlight was popular art.
The story of the appearance of the Russian Matryoshka doll began in the capital, in the study “Child Education”, where dolls were made to show the clothes of the population of different parts of the country. The task of creating such toys was the propaganda of national ethnography. Sergey malyutin, who worked in the studio, based on the Japanese daruma doll in the form of figures similar to balls nested with each other, the mythical elder, invented and made his own detachable doll of bright colors. The master painted her as a peasant woman in a Russian rustic style scarf.
The Malyutine Matryoshka had a dark rooster on hands, she wore an embroidered shirt, a summer dress and a white bib, a headscarf. Inside were 7 more figures, in which the female images alternated with the male ones. The latter was done in the form of a baby diapers. The master painted the first Matryoshka with gouache painting and dates back to 1890. Now this Matryoshka is in the Sergiev-Posad Museum.
The name of the doll was given unintentionally. At the end of the nineteenth century, matresha was the most common female name, although there are also several explanations related to the figure of the mother that can be said Mamushka when it comes to calling mom fondly, the Russians generally do not say Matryoshka, but rather mamushka.
Linden, birch, alder and poplar wood are used to carve Matryoshka. Best material to make dolls is lindo. The tree is harvested in spring, usually in April, when the wood is in sap. Tree logs are stored outdoors and with enough space for ventilation between each trunk and another, an experienced carver can determine the degree of preparation of the material.
The pieces of a Matryoshka are made of the same trunk, as this will have the same degree of inner dryness and will not deform.
At the beginning of its appearance, the traditional Matryoshka was painted as a woman with a headscarf and a colored dress. In the last decade of the nineteenth century, the studio where malyutin worked closed, but Russian dolls continued to be made in Sergiev Posad.
The Russian toy received worldwide fame in 1900 at an exhibition in Paris. Each year, matryoshka were exhibited at fairs in Leipzig, Berlin and London. Matryoshka in those days was fashionable, of great interest was decorative painting and the original form, which at that time were a novelty.
The Matryoshka dolls of those times were carefully drawn and painted in a warm color. Its manufacture was often carried out by icon painters, using the corresponding artistic effects. In the Sergiev-Posad Museum there are pieces of that time, made in the form of a family of boyars, literary characters of Gogol’s works, historical personalities. Many products were produced based on folk tales and fables.
The dolls were very expensive. The cost of a game was about 10 rubles, which at that time, this sum was very high.
On several occasions, the craftsmen tried to move away from the traditional way, moving to the manufacture of cone-shaped figures, but it has found no acceptance and its production ceased.
Gradually, several Matryoshka manufacturing centers were founded in Russia. In each company, teachers tried to give recognizable characteristics to the toy.
The history of his appearance is inextricably linked to the ancient styles of the artistic paintings of the land of Nizhny Novgorod. The appearance of the Matryoshka semenovskaya dates back to 1929, when in the city of Semenov of the Nizhny Novgorod region, the workshop for the production of wooden dolls was opened. It included several dozen local painters and craftsmen; workshop was transformed in 1932 to factory “Semenovskaya Paintings – Семеновская ” which still exist.
Nizhny Novgorod region masters created a Matryoshka, painted on the basis of the khokhlomskaya, khokhlomskaya fedoseyevskaya and merinovskaya paintings. The semenovskaya doll is drawn brightly, with black hair, a headscarf. Hands are usually not painted. The apron is covered with Burgundy and red roses, white daisies, blue forgeters. Bouquet necessarily has dark green leaves. The underside is often dyed yellow. In the company they also produce signature dolls with a more complex painting (They are pieces for collectors).
Zagorskaya Matryoshka is a popular branch that originated in the territory of Sergiev Posad. By the middle of the last century, the city had many workshops. Now the traditional Russian Matryoshka dolls are made by company “Artistic products and toys – Художественные игрушки”.
Zagora doll is distinguished from the rest by a simplified painting with the use of red, yellow, green and blue colors. The contour of the face and clothing are drawn with a black line or burned. The clothes of the Matryoshka Zagora is quite modest, in the apron are drawn small flowers, without too many small details. Girl’s hair color is mainly clear, but there may also be brunettes. The hands are lowered or folded, the doll holds a Balalaika, a fruit basket, a pet or a rooster in hands.
When making Tver’s doll, the paint under the crest is used with gold paints. Old Russian girls are depicted in festive robes with gold embellishments and hats. The handkerchief is red, the apron is black with large Pink flowers surrounded by green leaves.
The red-black combination is a recognizable feature of the Matryoshka Tver. Many consider them the most beautiful. Thanks to careful turning work and dyeing characteristics, these dolls shine like a dyed Easter egg.
Polkhov-Maidan products from the Nizhny Novgorod region have been manufactured since the 1920s. These are bright and festive dolls in a special way, very elongated, with a small head. The wood is painted with blue, green, red and yellow aniline colors. The wrist’s hands are down or holding a tray of bread.
Similar to Polkhov-Maidan’s Matryoshka, the products of a nearby village, known as Matryoshka Krutitsky, in their finish, along with aniline paintings, use oil paintings, under which a special technique is created. Fit, Krutitsky dolls are tall, thin, sculptural, its clothes are richly painted with great bright colors.
In Vyatka make the northernmost matryoshkas, like the girls of the North, have blonde hair and blue eyes, the facial expression of the doll is soft, smiling, sweet and welcoming and with corresponding facial and hair features of the women of the area.
This branch of Matryoshka appeared in the thirties of the last century, theproducts are painted with aniline paintings and with straw inlays, which is a hallmark of the Matryoshka Vyatska. The painted and embedded doll is covered with varnish.
Matryoshka Vyatska’s summer scarf and dress are light white or yellow. The clothes are decorated with a pattern of red poppies and blue nomevides. There is often an object in the hands, usually a bouquet of wild flowers or a tray of bread.
Now in the shops you can find dolls painted as fairytale characters, families. Modern matryoshkas are predominantly author. Teachers often resort to fairytale, literary and historical themes. The invention of recent times are portrait matryoshkas, painted under famous personalities.
The minimum number of dolls is 3. Exclusive matryoshkas can contain up to 50 inserts. The most popular items are 5 and 7.
The story of Matryoshka’s appearance for children began just over 130 years ago, but during this short period, the toy has hardly changed. Brilliant, festive, became one of the symbols of Russia.
It should be noted that, seeing the main branches of the Matryoshka in the Russian territory, it can be said that, if we put together all the main designs, the result would be an example of a festival of traditional outfits from all of Russia in addition to symbolism of the main crops of each area.
Generally, the prices of a Matryoshka doll range from 3 Euros to where the pocket can pay, there are some collector’s pieces that are worth thousands of Euros. In the price they affect the type, the provenance, the paint used, the quality of wood and to a large extent the artist who made it.
If you are going to Moscow or St. Petersburg, we have options to visit shops where to buy Matryoshka with the best prices, check out our special Izmailovo Market Tour.
And on our private tours, we have the Tour of Sergiev Posad with private transport.
If you have the illusion of having an authentic Matryoshka doll from Russia, but you do not have the possibility to travel to this country, we will soon have online our new gift shop, of all the cities where we offer services, so that you can buy and get it in your home.
For any questions or additional information, please contact us.