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Russian Nesting Dolls

Matryoshka – Nesting Dolls Of Russia 

Russian nesting dolls were first made over a hundred and fifty years ago.  These early dolls (or stacking dolls) were brightly painted in typical Russian designs and constructed so that the completed doll had many smaller dolls that fit one inside the other.  Today, there can be as many as fifty dolls nested together.  The name of this type of doll, Matryoshka, comes from the Latin word for mother and is a popular feminine name in Russian villages.  In the 1890’s, A.I. Mamontov established a studio called the “Children’s Education Workshop’.  He built it on his estate, Abramtsevo, which is near Moscow.  His goal was to develop and perfect the craft of making these dolls.

The typical peasant style Matryoshka doll is still made today, but many new types are being made and new figures are continually added.  There are political figures such as famous leaders, Story-tale figures and Christmas themes with Santa figures and Christmas trees.  The dolls are constructed of linden wood that is carefully dried to avoid cracking.  The wood is cut into blocks that are turned on the lathe to create the dolls. The dolls are polished to a smooth finish and are now ready for the artist to paint. The artist uses special fine brushes made of sable or squirrel’s hair and tempera paint. The final step is applying lacquer to give the dolls a beautiful, lasting finish. Our Nesting Dolls feature traditional Russian Matryoshka Dolls and the largest collection of Wild Animals and Dog Breeds. Our collection of hand painted Nesting Dolls includes works of art from artists located in the Moscow region, from Central Russia, Novgorod and Archangel regions.

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