The glorious rainbow elements of the Russian culture involve the many folktales, unique cuisine, cultural ethics, art, music and literature. But nothing could truly match the evolution of nesting dolls that is unique to Russia. Different cultures across the world have a significant something that portrays a long treasured history just at the first impression. When it comes to Russian culture, the prominent item of significance that flashes across through the minds of many, are the Russian nesting dolls. They have risen amongst cultural norms and showcased different facets of the society eloquently through their intelligent shapes, colors, pictures, designs and metaphorical impressions. They are an artful representation of Russian history. These nesting dolls have indeed popularized Russian culture and art forms worldwide with its stupendous and unique charm.
What are they made up of?
Lime wood is the main ingredient in this ancient art recipe of creation of perfectly fitting, heavenly-looking nesting dolls. If not lime wood, other wood varieties like birch, alder and aspen are used. Russians even consider it a pride to have got a huge collection of their Russian dolls. In ancient times, these were wholly carved and fabricated manually by skilled craftsmen but as technology developed and these dolls became commercially popular, certain rotator machines were used for mass production. However, even today most of the Russian dolls have the manual contribution of skilled Russian craftsmen.
For making a Russian doll, the fundamental craft is to carve the figurines in a rotating motion. A person requires immense expertise for the same, as no measurements are made while making them. With high crafting skills and attention to detail, comes a perfect end product of the Russian culture and traditions. The perception of the artisan is his measuring IQ that is essentially a factor that avoids duplication of this art by any other artisan with any other art background. The initial step requires tools like a knife and a chisel that have been used down the ages for carving these immaculate-looking dolls. It is logical that artisans start off the production of a typical nesting doll in an ascending order of the size of the dolls. The smallest among them is first created which also is the only one that cannot be detached. This is followed by the carving of the upper and lower parts increasing sizes for the bigger nesting doll covers. The number of nesting dolls may hugely vary according to the kind of end product required. These are then hand-painted by experienced and skilled artists. An outline for the colorful figure is first marked and the colors are filled in accurately in all the dolls such that they look uniform. In some others, the paintings are not uniform but consist of different colors and designs.
These Russian nesting dolls include a spectrum of notable themes and stories where the paintings and doll shapes could portray the image of a sport personality, certain famous animation characters, celebrities from show business, and even images of political leaders. These dolls look elegant and set themselves apart from other dolls, and this is the reason why these Russian dolls make an exceptional and mostly preferred gift in Russia. Not only Russians, but people from different countries are also fond of these dolls.
They also go by the names stacking or stackable dolls, babushka or babushka or babooshka dolls, matrioshka or matroshka or matreshka dolls. However, the most name for these dolls happens to be Matryoshka which is derived from the word ‘Mater’ of the Russian origin. Mat in other words is mother, and the concept of a mother bearing all her children within herself and being the eternal lifeline of the family is elegantly narrated through these dolls.
For years, these dolls have been playing the role of a perfect and treasured gift for every occasion and continue to be so for years to come.