Matryoshka - Nesting Dolls
Matryoshka..! Woo!! Sounds like some fancy or jaadu word? Well, this is the name for the Russian Nesting Dolls. Nesting dolls are also known as Babushka dolls. Nesting dolls are wooden dolls of decreasing size nested one inside the other. These dolls are a beautiful combination of wooden crafts and intricate art painted on them and symbolize the culture of the Russian society.
Original Matryoshka Set carved in 1890
The original Matryoshka dolls were carved in the year 1890 by two men Vasilii Zvyozdochkin and Sergei Malyutin. It is believed that the creation of these dolls was inspired by the wooden dolls of Japan.
The original Matryoshka doll set consisted of 8 dolls. The outermost doll depicts a young lady holding a black rooster. The inner dolls are her children including four girls and one boy each one holding different objects. The innermost doll is a baby carved from a single wooden piece. The word Matryoshka originates from the Latin word “Mater” meaning mother. Hence these nesting dolls symbolize motherhood, fertility and respect for her.
Opened Matryoshka Dolls
How they are made:
Nesting dolls are generally made from lime or linden tree. Other trees like alder, aspen, balsa, birch, or limewood are also used. The linden timber log has to be aged at least for 2 years to make it ready for making the dolls. The newly harvested log is not considered good enough for doll making.
Once the logs are ready they are tuned into preferred shapes. This process is called woodturning. The smallest doll is carved first and later are the bigger dolls as each smaller doll has to fit properly in the next big doll.
The carved dolls are then painted in accordance with the theme and at the end varnish or lacquor is applied to enhance and preserve its beauty.
Themes of Nesting Dolls:
Nesting dolls have an extensive variety of themes that are painted on them. As they are originated in Russia, the freedom of expression in Russia allowed the artists to portray the political leaders on the dolls.
Indian nesting dolls cover a wide range of themes like animals, birds, fruits, Indian men and women and so on. Even customized nesting dolls are available wherein artists paint the image of a specific person or a family on the dolls.
Nesting Dolls In India:
Indian artists have successfully popularized the western nesting dolls in India by portraying the art that the Indians can relate to. Indian mythology, freedom fighters, men and women in Indian attire ,etc. have been the popular themes on Indian nesting dolls. Making of these beautiful dolls has become a source of living for thousands of Indian families.
Utility Of Nesting Dolls:
Nesting dolls are bought mainly for home décor. People choose the theme that blend well with their home or interest.
Nesting doll set is a great toy for toddlers too, helping them in assembling and dismantling activities by opening and closing the dolls. Multicolor paintings on the dolls help them recognize the colors and the animals, birds, cartoon characters etc which are painted on the dolls.
They have become very popular as gift items in recent years. People gift the Customized nesting dolls are gifted during special occasions like weddings, anniversaries, and birthdays
With the increasing trend and interest in home décor, artists across the globe are likely to come up with many more diversified themes for the nesting dolls. They have and would continue to occupy a prominent place in our nest, adding more colors to our lives!