matryoshka's (doll nests with successively smaller dolls fitted into one
another) appeared in Russia in the late 19th century. They consisted of seven
dolls, each depicting a girl wearing a sleeveless cotton dress, white apron and
a multi-coloured shawl, sometimes holding a black rooster in her hands. The
first matryoshka's were turned in a factory of children's toys in Moscow. When
that factory closed down, the models found their way to a workshop in Sergiev
Possad, near Moscow. A few years later many local masters knew how to make these
dolls. They soon became famous throughout Russia and abroad and in 1900 they
were displayed at an exhibition in Paris. There were a wide variety of
matryoshka's: a girl in a motley shawl with a bouquet of flowers or a basket
with berries; in a fur jacket and a shawl with tassels; or characters from
Russian fairy tales.
Modern matryoshka's are either painted or pokered ("drawing" lines/details in the wood by means of a thin hot (soldering) iron. The colours include all shades of red, blue, yellow and green, although the pokered ones often only use the colour of the natural wood, with only some small gold and/or white details. Next to the girls you can now find historical or literary characters, football teams, presidents, Walt Disney stories, you name it. The number of dolls remains traditional, mostly uneven, although sometimes a giant set may consist of twenty and more, in which case the largest doll can be over 50 cms tall and the smallest one shorter than one cm.
the "normal" sets are way too big for our miniature use. From the
large sets you could use the last two or three, but you don't want to spend a
lot of money on something that you are only going to use maybe one tenth of.
Luckily over the years I have found several artists, who make various styles of Matryoshka dolls for me.
All dolls (singles and sets) are made of wood, handturned and handpainted in the most beautiful colours. The sets consist of either three or five dolls, that fit into one another. Although colours and patterns may vary, each doll is yet another proof of the Russian craftmanship. Where possible, I have stated the specific colours you can order. But some artists work with such a wide range/mix of colours, that it is simply impossible to photograph and/or describe each one of them. In that case I ask you to indicate which basic colour you prefer and I will send you one that comes as close as possible.
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