Friday, 11 May 2012

MATRYOSHKA. BABUSHKA. RUSSIAN NESTING DOLLS

A DOLL INSIDE A DOLL INSIDE A DOLL


Also known as Matryoshka, Babushka and stacking dolls.

My large 30 stack collectable Pushkin Fairy tales nesting doll is 50 Cm's tall and weighs about 4 kilos.
This was purchased in Ketchikan Alaska from a shop that only sells authentic signed Russian made dolls.


Nesting dolls began in Russia in 1890, however the Japanese claim Russian nesting dolls were inspired by a Japanese doll known as Fukuruma that a Russian Monk had made.



The wooden Japanese Kokeshi dolls look similar to and pre date the Russian nesting dolls.

It's hard to believe they can get them so small.



Stacking dolls are now made all over the world and if you want to collect them, depending on where they are made, the quality can be very disappointing.



This doll was bought in the same shop in Alaska as the 30 piece doll and while it's not on such a grand scale as the other doll she is also very collectable.


If buying them for children to play with then buying the dolls made outside of Russia or the Ukraine will be less expensive and perfect to be played with, however the authentic dolls, especially the high end ones will come at a premium price and not considered a toy to be played with, at the end of the day it's like anything - personal choice. I've even considered starting a collection of China made stacking dolls just to have a variety.



This Santa nesting doll was the first one I ever purchased.

I bought this at the Russian shop in Darling Harbour for Gracie, this doll was inexpensive at a Christmas sale and has been played with many times over.


All my nesting dolls are authentic Russian made and signed by the Artist except for the one below, still Russian but not handcrafted.





Traditional Smyonov dolls set of 7.
These Smyonov dolls are very affordable as they are factory made.

Beautifully crafted, hand painted and lacquered.

Most of the China made dolls are either not lacquered or have one coat, are not well painted and don't fit together very well.



Religious nesting dolls are highly sought after and this lovely Madonna and baby with Saints is painted like the traditional Russian Orthodox religious icons.

Matryoshka translates to mother.


This is a bell doll, not stacking but matches a set of my other stacking dolls, when pushed she rolls on her base and makes the sound of jingling bells.



These are vintage Russian Soviet Union dolls.

Traditional nesting dolls were made from linden or birch wood.


Another lot of vintage dolls, you can still buy these as they come up for sale regularly.

The smallest doll would be made first.



How nesting dolls have changed, now they come in all sorts of themes from Elvis Presley to the Simpson's.



Plain unpainted nesting dolls are also available so that you can paint your own decoration on them. This is one craft project I won't be attempting, I think a fair bit of skill would be needed to get these painted to even look half decent and then there is all that lacquer to apply to give a really hardened and glossy finish.


Cute little toothpick holder to compliment a nesting doll collection.


This is a working colouring in pencil.

In 1913 a 48 piece doll was made and displayed at the Toy exhibition in St Petersburg.



This has the little nesting dolls in the top - very cute.

The very early nesting dolls looked out of proportion because they were quite oval with very big heads.



Take a pen refill and place it inside this pen holder and it works like a normal pen.

The largest set of Russian nesting dolls is a 51 piece set completed in April 2003.





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