One of the most memorable elements of Slavic, Russian culture are nesting dolls. This is practically the most
famous souvenir that is often bought all over the world; in addition to everything else, it is equally
popular both as a cute gift toy and as a home decoration, as a symbol of wealth and family well-
being: if you are presented with a nesting doll, then you wish you happiness.
Traditionally, the nesting doll is almost identical figures of red-cheeked girls in national dresses, wrapped in scarves. Sometimes the nesting doll represented a large family, from small to large. Such products were made by talented craftsmen and required a lot of work and skill, as they were miniature and elegantly designed, containing many detailed sophisticated elements.
Matryoshka is a symbol of wealth and prosperity
The source of Russian Matryoshka is this: in the 19th century, during the period of rapid economic growth of the country and public interest in folk traditions, the prototype of such a toy, a carved figurine of the god of happiness, was brought from Japan to Moscow and shown to professional artist Sergei Malyutin, who was one of the main propagandists "Russian styleā€¯ in art. Matryoshka dolls created according to the sketches of Malyutin were chubby peasant girls in embroidered sundresses and bright scarves.
Russian carved dolls were given the name of nesting dolls for a reason. In pre-revolutionary Russia, the name Matryona was very common in the province and was associated with the mother of a large family with a burly figure and excellent health.
Thus, nesting dolls depicting young women in bright clothes and in kokoshniks, or families (the smallest of the figures often depict babies) are a symbol of wealth and fertility, a full house and a happy family, peace, good luck. In addition, colorful products made by skilled craftsmen are not just toys or jewelry, but also indicators of the wealth of the owners.
Nested dolls gained particular fame in the last century at the Paris exhibition, at which time they began to sell and export them abroad. Why did they become a symbol of Russia and Ukraine? Because it is precisely the nesting dolls that are the most striking embodiment of the Russian soul, a lovely charming home symbol of motherhood and family, the continuation of life, wealth and prosperity.
Modern Russian nesting dolls
Nowadays, matryoshka are still painted by hand, mostly with acrylics or gouache. Meanwhile, several other directions in this art have now arisen. Matryoshka is a wonderful gift, sometimes an elegant and colorful decoration for the home. But now, in addition to ethnic-style nesting dolls, there are portrait nesting dolls that depict historical or public figures, politicians, leaders, athletes, artists, scientists and many others, often they are individually bought ready-made or made to order. Separately, mention can be made of nesting dolls, which depict panoramas of cities, temples, famous monuments of architecture or landscapes.