A Great Place to buy Russian Matryoshka (Nesting) Dolls
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Apple Basket Dolls, six inches tall and brightly colored with gold glitter, this doll has an appeal all her own. Hand painted
#7775 Apple Basket Dolls
5 Dolls Tallest is 6 Inches
A Short History of the Russian Matryoshka Doll / Nesting Doll
MATRYOSHKA, THE NESTING DOLL
Russian toy first appeared in central Russia at the end of the 19th century,
when a toy maker in the village of Sergiev Posad crafted a wooden doll containing
seven other dolls that were graduated in size and fitted into each other.
The largest doll depicted a girl with a rooster and contained a slightly smaller
boy doll, which in turn contained a smaller girl doll, and so on, with the
smallest of the eight, a baby swaddled in a diaper. The nesting doll quickly
became recognized as a unique Russian folk art and was exhibited in the Russian
pavilion at the 1900 World Fair in Paris. The matryoshka, popular today among
children and collectors worldwide, has come to symbolize Russia itself.
Matryoshka dolls are carved individually on a lathe out of soft wood (usually linden) and then brightly painted in a variety of ornate patterns with aniline dye or oil, and finally lacquered. Frequently the artists borrow their designs from traditional folk art, fairy tales, history, icon painting and, above all, the artist's personal fantasy. It is interesting to note that the artist carves the smallest doll first and then continues to turn larger hollow dolls into which the preceding one is fitted. These dolls usually come in sets of 3, 5, 7, 10, and more pieces. In Russia today one can occasionally run across matryoshka dolls in specialty shops and at art fairs consisting of as many as 30 and 35 pieces.
Why is the doll called a "matryoshka"? The name comes from Matryona, which was a very popular female name among peasants in old Russia. The name Matryona in turn is related to the Latin root "mater" and means "Mother." Thus, the name is closely connected with motherhood and in turn the doll has come to symbolize fertility - a mother doll with numerous off-spring.
In old Russia these family dolls passed from generation to generation and each subsequent generation made the next doll bigger so the others could fit inside. The Matryoshka dolls symbolizes good luck and peace in the family. The art of Russian MATRIOSHKA [matryoshka, matreshka] has spread from Moscow to other cities like Petrozavodsk, Karelia, Semenov, Polkhovsky Maidan, Vyatka and Tver. Right now the biggest center of Russian MATRIOSHKA [matryoshka, matreshka] making is Sergiev Posad located approximately 45 miles from Moscow. Russian Matryoshka dolls can be very small (2 pieces) up to very large (40 pieces and more). There are simple designs such as the Maiden dolls or very expensive, with extensive art work and painting and can run into the thousands of dollars.
Anyone who's ever enjoyed seeing or playing with a series of wooden nesting dolls--matryoshki in Russian--will gravitate instinctively to Ertl and Hibberd's lavishly illustrated tome. In it, several myths are quickly debunked: first, that these dolls were born in the Motherland (they emigrated from Japan); and second, that all are made from a single piece of wood (actually, one linden tree trunk yields about four or five blanks). The authors continue to reveal the world of matryoshki, including designs, manufacturing, themes, production centers, artists, and purchase of this native toy. The color photographs alone are worth the price, aiding a true appreciation of the art, whether readers admire the elegantly decorated Cinderella dolls or a wonderfully comic Bill Clinton and "family." Includes a useful glossary of English and Russian terms.
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With illustrations quaint enough for Christmas cards, an author's note that explains the history of nesting dolls, and a story reminiscent of The Tin Soldier, Bliss's (Matthew's Meadow) picture book will especially please collectors of Russian matryoshkas. The story begins "in a small shop in a snowy village in Russia," where Nikolai the doll maker, a Geppetto-like wood carver, fashions a set of six nesting dolls. He tells them, "You are six sisters," and names each one. Anna, the largest doll, watches as they travel to America, where they are lined up on a shelf, and the smallest doll, Nina, is accidentally knocked to the floor and kicked outside into the snow. After a plow scoops up Nina and a snow truck dumps her outside of town, the shopkeeper sells the remaining matroyoshkas to a girl, Jessie, for half-price. Nina rides a river of melting snow to a stream, is picked up by a heron, found by a squirrel, tumbles down a rain pipe and is eventually found by Jessie and her cat, who reunite the six sisters. "How they rejoiced to be together again!" as "Anna smiled the smile that had been painted on by Nikolai the doll maker in Russia, so long ago." Brown's (Tough Boris) paintings are sweetly old-fashioned, the images perceived as if behind a scrim of fantasy. They suit the nostalgic mood of the narrative. What this story lacks in originality, it makes up for in neatness. The elements fit together as cozily as the dolls nesting one inside the other. For more information...
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