The Symbolic Nesting Dolls That Are Worth Sharing

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The Symbolic Nesting Dolls That Are Worth Sharing

Russian wooden doll “nesting doll” is one of the symbols of Russia, like a balalaika, vodka, Kalashnikov assault rifle. But if to follow the historical truth, then the first wooden “nesting doll” was carved not by the Russians, but by the Japanese. We owe the appearance of the “nesting doll” in Russia to a well-known entrepreneur and philanthropist, connoisseur of various arts, Savva Mamontov.

The Artistic Trend and the Dolls

It was S. Mamontov who organized Abramtsevo, a so-called. “Mammoth Circle”. The main task of the “Mammoth Circle” was to maintain and develop the artistic trend in art, known as the “Russian style”. In Abramtsevo, Repin, Vasnetsov, Vrubel, Levitan and other eminent artists of Russia lived and worked. But also in Abramtsevo S. Mamontov, art workshops were created, where, together with professional artists, the best craftsmen from all sorts of national crafts of immense Russia worked. If you are wondering how to make a nesting doll out of a picture, then here is the account of how it really happened.

Mass Production

Mass production of nesting dolls started by master toy-makers Sergiev Posad, and then nesting doll dolls spread throughout Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. There are even dolls found in Mexico. And in all national centers of folk crafts, where they made wooden dolls, they had their own artistic features. Only the name of the wooden doll, finally called as “nesting doll” remained unchanged. Over the past hundred years, the manufacturing technology of “nesting doll” has practically not changed, only paints and varnishes have become different, and the manufacture of wooden blanks is the same as in 1890.


In-line production is not applicable to nesting doll, everything is done by hand, and even in the production of mass circulations, every nesting doll still signs in its own way. As a material for the manufacture of the future “nesting doll family”, linden or birch wood is used. A carved workpiece must not have any knots or cracks. The master begins with the smallest figure, and then, on an incremental basis, depending on the number of conceived figures. And only after careful fitting, and checking the compatibility of all the figures in the composition, the artist enters the work. And then the birth is now a national symbol depends on his imagination and, of course, the requirements of the customer.

The Perfect Business

Now the production of dolls in Russia is a well-established business, designed primarily for foreign tourists. The main centers of mass production of dolls are Moscow, Nizhny Novgorod, Kirov region and the Republic of Mordovia. The cost of a set of dolls, for example, on the Old Arbat ranges from 100 to 15,000 rubles. Taking into account that the lion’s share of the profits goes to the second-hand dealers and goes to other needs, it is clear that the craftsmen themselves will never “get rich” in making the dolls. Another thing is separate creative workshops, specializing in the manufacture of sets of exclusive gift sets. Here the price of a set of nesting dolls can reach several thousand dollars.

It was here, in Abramtsevo, in 1890 that the carved figure of the Buddhist monk Fukuruma was brought from the Japanese island of Honshu. In the demountable figure of the elder sage were invested four more figures of his famous students. It was this figurine of the holy sage Fukurum that inspired the famous artist, a member of the “Mammoth Circle” Sergei Malyutin, to create the Russian equivalent of a Japanese toy.

He created sketches of Russian toys, and the best toy from Sergiev Posad near Moscow carved a wooden doll consisting of 8 figures. They called the doll “nesting doll” in honor of the female name of Matryon, and this was not accidental. The fact is that in the pre-revolutionary Russian province the name Matryona was considered one of the most common female names. The basis of this name is the Latin word “mater”, which means “mother”.

This name was associated with the mother of a huge family, with good health and a portly figure and perfectly suited the new Russian wooden doll. The first nesting doll was painted by Sergey Malyutin himself. The first figure portrayed a chubby peasant girl with a black rooster on a sundress. A boy was invested in it, then a girl again, etc. down to the last, eighth figure, depicting a swaddled baby.

Painted Dolls

The fact that the painted dolls nesting doll got their name from the old name of Matryon, many people know. But why was chosen this particular female name, and not any other – Alena, Vasilisa, Daria? Because Matrona comes from the Latin word “matron”: “mother, mother of a large family,” and the first Russian dolls portrayed precisely the venerable hostess with numerous children!

The above easily explains the wide distribution of wedding nesting dolls: what else to give at birth of a young family, if not a symbol of a happy marriage and motherhood? True, today the old tradition is changing; directly on the wedding day, a double nesting doll is often presented to order, decorated with portraits of the bride and groom, and many- placed dolls become presents for various wedding anniversaries.

Original wedding gift from the online store

If you decide to give a nesting doll to the happy newlyweds, you will have a wide choice of options how to do it exactly:

  • Order a bright original doll (or dolls) with portraits of a young couple; at the same time you can choose its size, artistic background, color, add congratulatory inscriptions and wishes.
  • Order or buy a wedding nesting doll “bride and groom” in the online store and use it as an original box for more expensive gifts such as jewelry, gift certificates, car keys, etc.
  • To purchase a multi-seat detachable doll with the corresponding painting and turn it into a “cash chest” – for this, each doll in the set turns into a bill of ever greater dignity.

How to buy a wedding nesting doll? You can find one at A wedding gift should be flawless, and therefore it should be ordered only in large themed stores with extensive experience working with handicrafts and its own staff of artists. This is the only way to ensure that you can buy a high-class wedding nesting doll, from properly dried and processed wooden base to luxurious durable painting.