Being the biggest country in accordance with its territory Russia is also big in its Art, Architecture and crafts. One of its most transpiring works of art are the Matryoshka dolls also known as Babushka dolls, nesting dolls, stacking dolls or Russian tea dolls. These dolls are thought to be considered as one of the most quintessential representations of traditional Russian peasant life.
Only being one hundred years old these eye-catching artifacts were crafted in 1890 by a woodworker named Vasilii zvyozdochkin and were painted on by an artist called Sergei Malyutin.
These are a set of wooden doll figures that decrease in size placed one inside another. The name Matryoshka is derived from the Latin word “mater” meaning “mother” and in Russian language, matryoshka means “little matron” which is also a nickname for a Russian female first name ‘Matryona’. The woodworker initially wanted to create dolls with the purpose of hiding toys inside of them but then this idea of his soon led to the creation of the babushka nesting dolls.
The woodman and the painter first crafted a wooden peasant doll with the traditional Russian Sarafan dress painted on to it holding a rooster in its one arm and a headscarf. She was named ‘Matryoshka’. Inside her were seven more wooden dolls each with a distinct profile.
After being presented to the Exposition Universelle in France in the 1900, this set of wooden dolls was bestowed with a bronze medal and shortly after their success evolved and they gained a great deal of popularity throughout the globe.
They were later symbolized as portraying a woman’s fertility and motherhood. Mother’s play an essential role in the traditional Russian culture as they are thought of to be the child bearers and caretakers of the family. Their big belly on the dolls were made for the key purpose of demonstrating a mother’s stout.
As time progressed so did the appearance of these dolls. Modern times demand for more modern characters. They can be customized to any set of design and are still considered the most decorative embellishments rather than toys. They have flourished as the art of Russia and have been a major export as a Russian Souvenir.