Russian Matryoshkas: A Russian Craft

Russia is always known and admired for its diverse style of handicrafts. Out of them, Russian Matryoshka is one of the most popular crafts in Russia. Russian Matryoshka is a craft toy engraved in the soul of the Russian state. This craft toy is a worldwide sensation and has grown its popularity over the years. It was first created in the city of SergievPosad. For crafting the Russian Matryoshka, a woman doll is created using wood and similarly, other toys are added inside each doll having distinct sizes.

Russian Matryoshka: Story of its Origin

The story of matryoshka started at the end of the 19th Century most probably around 1898 and 1900. A famous turner named VasilyPetrovichZvezdochkin used to work as a manufacturer of toys made from wood. Once an artist with the name Sergei Malyutin asked him to make an unusual cut in which he told him to insert the wood containing the exact cuts. The main condition was that every cut should be a different style and size. After creating the first Matryoshka containing 8 wooden dolls, several other styles of Matryoshka were made. In the pre 20th Century, Matryoshka was made using 24 wooden dolls.  Nikita Bulychev, a famous turner also successfully managed to create dolls consisting of 48 young girls in wood. 




The Russian Matryoshka presented to the world

After a few years of the booming of Russian Matryoshka in Russia, it was then displayed to the world in an exhibition organized in Paris. The majority of the foreigners attending the exhibition loved to play with it. After the exhibition, a buzz got created around the globe, and heavy demand for orders from different places started coming to Russian crafters. The production of Russian Matryoshka blew up at an immense rate and on a large scale in SergievPosad.


Fascinating facts of the invention of Matryoshka

Russian Matryoshkas come in multiple types based on the number of dolls blended in the final product. Even the style of the painting is distinct for each Matryoshka. Usually, the dolls consist of 3, 8, and 12 elements. However, some craft artists can even design and craft mother dolls having 21, 24, 30, and 42 elements. The main doll in the Russian Matryoshka portrays the image of the Russian ladies of that time period, and the small girls’ dolls depict the Russian culture with traditional dresses, carves on the head, and having stuff like jars, baskets of berries, or milk in their hands. Over the years, Matryoshka got portrayed as characters from the famous fairy tales, stories, and fables written by famous authors or poets.


Altering the shape and style of the Russian Matryoshka

The shape of the Russian Matryoshka dolls was modified and given the shape of the cone. But this new alteration was not much happily accepted by the Russians, and that’s why this evolution plan was eventually dropped.


Different painting style of the traditional Russian Matryoshka:

  • Semenovl: Very strict symmetry in painting
  • Polkhovskaya: Essential image having a flower in the face
  • Zagorien: Consists of saturated and intense colors with clean and clear marked elements
  • Vyatka: Describe modest and shy young northerner
  • Russian Matryoshka of marinas: Decorated with a large number of flowers

Stuff used to craft Russian Matryoshka is a deciduous tree because these can be easily modified. For coloring; gouache, ink, and aniline dyes are commonly used. Lastly, for adding a protective layer, they use wood wax or clear varnish based on oil.