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Main page » IT'S INTERESTING » Russian Matryoshka nesting doll history

Russian Matryoshka nesting doll history

01.11.2011

In the nineties of XIX-th century A.Mamontova has brought to the Moscow toy workshop "Children's education" from Japan a figure of the good-natured bald old man - the wise man Fukurum. It was made as the small figures nested one in another. The woodturner Vasily Zvezdochkin working then in this workshop, carved from the wood the similar figures which could also nest one in another, and the artist Sergey Malyutin has painted them as the girls and boys. The first Russian nesting doll had the face of a girl in folksy city dress on it: the sundress, apron, kerchief with a cock. The toy consisted of eight figures. The image of the girl alternated with the image of the boy, differing from each other. The last doll was made as the swaddled baby.

The name "Matrena" was widespread then. The name - "Matryoshka" ("Russian nesting dolls") appeared.

Today only those chiseled and painted wooden toys-souvenirs are named matryoshka (Russian nesting doll) which consist of several figures nested one in another. The toys not nesting one in another, - are just the "chiseled toy".

at the beginning of 1900th the workshop "Children's education" was closed, but manufacturing the Russian nesting dolls continued in Sergiev Posad which 70 kilometers to the north from Moscow, in the training-demonstration workshop. The first Russian nesting dolls were very expensive, but anyway they attracted the buyers and were in great demand. Manufacturing of the Russian nesting dolls has quickly extended across Sergiev Posad, there were Ivanov's, Bogoyavlensky's 's workshops. Vasily Zvezdochkin has also moved here. There were a lot of the forests around Sergiev Posad, and this city had plenty of the skilled woodturners. Manufacturing of Russian nesting dolls became a so much widespread phenomenon that orders for manufacture started arriving even from Paris, they were sold in Germany, in the well-known Leipzig fair. The mass export of Russian nesting dolls abroad began in the early XX-th century. Painting of the Russian nesting dolls became more colourful, more various. They were reflecting the girls in sundresses, in scarves, with baskets, small bundles, bunches of flowers. The Russian nesting dolls with the herdboys with a pipe, and bearded old men with the big stick, the groom with moustaches and the bride in the wedding dress appeared. The imagination of artists was not limited with anything. Russian nesting dolls were selected under the most different principles to meet their main purpose - to make a surprise.

So, the Russian nesting doll "Bride and groom" nested the relatives. The Russian nesting dolls reflecting these themes were dedicated to certain dates. Except family theme there were the Russian nesting dolls made with consideration of a certain level of erudition, knowledge. So, by the 100 anniversary of N.V.Gogol's birthday they manufactured the Russian nesting dolls with the heroes of his works: characters from the comedy "Auditor" (Khlestakov, the governor of the town, the judge, the postmaster and others). In 1912, by the centenary of the Battle of Borodino they made the Russian nesting dolls "Kutuzov" and "Napoleon". These Russian nesting dolls figures had the smaller figures inside reflecting the  fellow fighters, member of their staff, participants of Councils of War. Many Russian nesting dolls were dedicated to the customs, folklore. Fairy-tales topic always drew attention of the dolls makers. "Turnip", "Goldfish", "Ivan the tsarevitch", "Firebird", etc. were illustrated. The Russian nesting dolls were enriched not only with painting but were also complicated with the number of the nesting figures. So, at the beginning of the century masters from Sergiev Posad produced the Russian nesting dolls having 24 nests, and in 1913 the turner Nikolay Bulychyov has broken a kind of the record, having turned a 48 figures Russian nesting doll. Same year in Sergiev Posad there were established the artisan-industrial artel of toys which means that the demand was increasing and giving the considerable income.

The Russian nesting doll extended, began to be produced far outside of Sergiev Posad - in Semenovsky area of the Nizhniy Novgorod province. In certain features it was the same, but differed in many respects. If in Sergiev Posad the Russian nesting doll was seen stocky and thick, then Semenvsk masters carved it more slender and extended, painted the brisk girls-beauties in the bright kerchiefs.

By the way, "Vanka-vstanka" (tilting doll) originates from the Russian nesting doll. The first tilting doll from the wooden-paper masses has been thought up in 1958 at the Toy Scientific research institute in Sergiev Posad. This toy could give sounds and has been made with application of the new technology, which is by hot pressing. The author of the technique was the master Ivan Moshkin. They put a metal plummet inside the figure which did not allow the figure to fall and forced it to take the vertical position.

Telling about the Russian nesting doll we cannot help but mention the toy Museum in Sergiev Posad. It is located within seven minutes of walking from the station, in an ancient beautiful two-storeyed building. Children and adults are coming here from the various corners of the country to have a look at the modern and ancient toys. Along with the other exhibits the whole collections of the Russian nesting dolls are presented here. There is also the first Russian nesting doll painted by the known artist S.V.Malyutin. Here you can learn about the various schools of painting: of Sergiev Posad, Semenovsk, Polkhov-maydanskaya and the others.