Russian doll, refers to a set of wooden dolls of decreasing size placed one inside the other. The name is believed to be a derivative of "Matriosha" or "Matriona," which were female names that enjoyed immense popularity among Russian peasants. The name connotes the matriarch of a big Russian family.
The first Russian nested doll set was made in 1890 by Vasily Zvyozdochkin from a design by Sergey Malyutin, who was a folk crafts painter at Abramtsevo. Traditionally the outer layer is a woman, dressed in a sarafan, a long and shapeless traditional Russian peasant jumper dress. The figures inside may be of either gender; the smallest, innermost doll is typically a baby turned from a single piece of wood. Much of the artistry is in the painting of each doll, which can be very elaborate. The dolls often follow a theme; the themes may vary, from fairy tale characters to almost any character in these modern times.
Uploaded: May 16, 2015