Everybody considers nesting dolls as part of the Russian culture, as they were born on this land more than a hundred years ago. The symbolism of this small and intriguing souvenir has traveled all over the earth, leaving behind their birth country. Children in all corners of the world are enchanted with these lovely toys and interior designers agree that this form of art can enhance the traditional appearance of a home. Still, this long journey has not manage to take out of the matryoshka dolls the Russian heritage. Many people are still wondering where it all began and what nesting dolls mean today.
Legends seem to have been spreading, regarding the actual birth place, whether it is Japan or Russia. It is true that the concept of a box inside a box is of Chinese origin, but the first Russian nesting dolls, meaning the shape and drawings of the dolls, were created in 1890 in Russia, in a time of a great hunger. Sergei Maliutin and Vassily Zviozdochkin were the ones who gave life to this form of traditional art, imagining the typical Russian woman, by painting all the details of the specific costume. Peasants easily understood how babushka dolls were created and started making them. Once this form of art was presented at the Exhibition in Paris in 1900, people everywhere were looking to purchase their own doll inside another doll. It is was only a matter of time before nesting dolls became world wide famous.
Today, there isn’t a person out there who hasn’t heard of these small toys. Moreover, motifs regarding the drawings on their wooden surface are no longer related only to Russian tradition. You can find almost any design imprinted on matryoshka dolls, from famous presidents to movie stars or abstract art. This is a great domain for artists, who make use of their imagination and create the most interesting nesting dolls out there. Using special paints, you can find designs ideas for everyone, from politics, to animal species or different portraits. Moreover, craftsmen know that the carving process is not so easy, as one might thing. Even though the actual shape is not complicated, preparing the wood is a bit tricky, because you can make babushka dolls only out of a specific type of tree, which needs to be dried in a correct manner at a certain temperature. Also, any mistake you make when creating the smallest doll can ruin the final outcome.
True matryoshka dolls are the emblem of a tradition, while their meaning is international. A dolls inside a another doll represents the idea of essence linked with the concept of femininity. If you ever travel to Russia, be sure to come back with traditional nesting dolls. Buying it from the mother country, from the hands of the Russian craftsmen, you might even have the pleasant surprise of owning a collector’s item. You won’t get rich selling it, but you will certainly have a one of a kind souvenir out of the millions of such dolls existing in the world.