The Charm of Nesting Dolls
Russian nesting doll is most popular Russian national souvenir. It is a folk art which came in at the end of 19th century which was a period of great economic and cultural development in Russia. This was also the time of uprising of Russian culture mainly Russian Art. Proficient artists worked along with folk craftsmen who preserved this artistic and traditional skill. The first Russian nested doll set was carved in 1890 by Vasily Zvyozdochkin and designed by Sergey Malyutin in Moscow. This craft continued to be a regional folk art until after it was presented a bronze medal at the World Exhibition in Paris, Russian dolls were then hand crafted in many places in Russia. The craft of creation of the renowned Russian nesting dolls was developed from an already renowned and developed folk art of creating Easter eggs nested one within another.
The wood utilized was limewood, birch, birch and aspen wood. Matryoshka, Russian nesting dolls, wooden dolls fundamentally comprises of a wooden figure which differentiates, top from base, to uncover a littler figure of the same shape inside, which has, thusly, another figure within it, etc. A considerable amount of mindfulness is kept while molding and creating the slenderness of the dolls.
There are a few things that have always remained a part of the Russian culture. The Russian nesting dolls or Matryoshkas are one among them.Almost every one visiting Russia buys these as a souvenir when returning home. Thanks to the internet it is now possible to buy such Russian dolls from a US company.
These dolls are usually made from lime wood or bass wood, that's dried for about two years. The skill here is to make dolls that have fine sides. A typical Babushka would have about 5 to 30 dolls inside. They generally follow a theme. For example they could depict a large Russian family or a Russian peasant woman with her large brood. The traditional Russian nesting doll depicts, a typical Russian peasant woman, with a portly figure and a scarf (or babushka) tied around her, to avoid the cold. Political nesting dolls have also gained popularity. The trend started, with the immensely popular Gorbachev nesting dolls and has now grown to include a variety of themes, like Star Trek dolls, The Simpsons nesting dolls, Disney characters nesting dolls, sports themed dolls, and even musical dolls.
Artisans follow a particular style, when making these dolls. Sergiyev Posad, Seminovo, Polkholvsky Maidan, Zagorsk and Kirov are some of the popular styles. The dolls would differ according to the influence of the style that the artisan follows.
The price of these dolls usually varies from a few dollars to a few hundred dollars. The collectibles are usually priced high. As earlier said, you could buy them from the US, through a number of websites that offer to sell them. These handmade dolls make the perfect wedding gift as these dolls symbolize fertility. For those looking to gift these dolls, you could get them gift wrapped as well. These websites also store a number of other popular Russian souvenirs like Baltic amber(which is the best among Russian amber), lacquer boxes, Faberge style jewelry, Russian brooches and several other collectibles like Russian fur hats, Russian military hats, wooden Santa's, etc.
Colorful nesting dolls, stacked one inside the other are quintessentially Russian and a popular souvenir among people traveling to and from Russia. They're a common sight in the country, with almost everyone selling them. These dolls, as we all know are representative of traditional Russian peasant woman wearing their traditional garb. The one's sold by vendors are often distinguished by their garish colors and cheap quality of wood. Souvenir shops do sell quality produce done by master craftsmen, but they're often overpriced. During the communist era, people outside of Russia had to rely on people traveling to the country to buy these dolls for them.
Russian migrants, who fled the country during the communist regime soon realized the market potential for Russian dolls and started to manufacture them in the countries where they settled. Today, there are plenty of online souvenir shops that sell these cute little dolls all over the world. The Russian art and craft market is the fastest growing area in the international market. Popular Russian art works like the Faberge eggs, porcelain dolls and icons with silver and enamel work are known to fetch thousands of dollars at international auctions.
Lovers of Russian handicrafts can either choose from traditional dolls that represent Russian peasant woman or from modern versions that represent nearly every popular figure; from Presidents and Prime Ministers to sports personalities and pop stars. The price of these goods often varies widely. While a high quality doll can cost as much as $1,500, the cheaper versions are available for as little as $10.
Besides nesting dolls, these shops also sell other handmade dolls including Cheburashkas, cloth dolls, wooden Santa's, porcelain dolls and simple cloth dolls. In addition, if you are interest in Russian handicraft goes beyond dolls, you can buy Khokhloma, boxes made from birch barks, lacquer etc.
Buying from an online shop based in your country has several advantages; the first being convenience. You no longer have to worry about delayed shipping or damaged goods. And if you're looking to gift these for weddings or birthdays, you could order for their free gift wrapping service and the gifts shall reach the desired person.
But before you buy them, make sure that the toys are safe in terms of design and materials used. Colors used in painting the dolls should be safe for children. In fact, some artisans use natural colors that are derived from food, or use colors that are certified to be non toxic.
Among all the prevalent Russian imports, the most adored and the most well known are the Russian nesting dolls. Young ladies all over Russia pride over their nesting doll accumulation. At times, these are talented as family legacies. These dolls portray the customary Russian laborer lady and her vast family and thus are illustrative of richness. Actually, conventional Matryoshkas conveyed a hen in their grasp. The hen speaks to joy for the Russians. The primary Matryoshkas were first made in 1890, by two Russian artisans who were impacted by the Japanese wooden dolls. The dolls were initially acquainted with the world by the wife of Russian industrialist Savva Mamontova at the world presentation in Paris in 1900.
The Matryoshka (Nesting dolls) of Russia has been a precious symbol of the country and its cultures for many generations down the line. It is one form of handicraft that provides massive boom in business in Russia. To create a typical Russian nesting doll or stacked dolls isn't as easy as it looks. It takes a lot of hard work and the application of immense expertise gained by professional artisans to come up with this handcrafted masterpiece.
The origin of the famous Russian nesting dolls took place in the 19th century when a local artisan in Moscow crafted a wooden doll in seven different sizes that fit well into each other forming a series of stacking dolls. This art was recognized as depicting the well-preserved Russian culture and tradition in terms of representing a traditional Russian peasant family where the mother or the female head of the family holds together every person in the family. The outermost doll of the nesting doll series denotes the mother of the family.
Initially made for fun as a toy it grew to be the medium of creative depiction of Russian art, history and politics. Funny caricatures of Russian politicians were being made on these dolls that led into openness in the expression of the common man's views. Apart from social issues a lot of other segments from various parts of Russian culture and society were also drawn to attention through these dolls. Hence it became the living symbol and soul of Russia. At the onset of the 20th century some painters even crafted their skills of depicting a fairy tale or a traditional folk tale on these dolls via their explicit drawings on these stacked dolls.
Two styles of traditional doll painting has been practiced centuries ago and also in the modern times. These two are the topicality of Sergiev Posad and the decorative style of Nizhny Novgorod. Some of these nesting dolls may even home imperial pictures of monuments of traditional architectural importance in Russia. These nesting dolls never fail to inculcate the feeling of patriotism and pride.
Modern day artisans strive hard to retain all these styles to remind the people of their ancestors and their traditions and learn a lot of significant messages conveyed through these timeless images. Today's nesting doll art preserves that art of yesteryear and fills the hearts of the citizens of the country with power and hope for a bright future.
With the current global economic crisis though, regions like Semyonovo in the Volga, that is known to be one of the top manufacturers of the nesting dolls in the country are suffering from financial crisis and to cope with it they are cutting down on the production of these incredible Matryoshkas. If only the State government supports this industry and offers special tax benefits one can expect to retain such valuable artistry of Russia.
You can easily find a wide-range of Matryoshkas of varying designs all over the world. There aren't just Russian designs, but Polish and Ukrainian as well. Many Americans design wooden stacking dolls as well, and you can find many of these on the Internet by doing a simple web search or visiting an auction site such as eBay.
Matryoshkas made today vary in style. Many are of traditional artistry, much like the first dolls carved and painted in Russia over a century ago. However, you will find increasing numbers of novelty matryoshkas depicting celebrities and politicians. In fact, in the early 1990s, matryoshka dolls depicting former communist leaders before the collapse of the Soviet Union were extremely popular collectors' items.
Today, you'll find Matryoshka dolls depicting American politicians as well as celebrities.