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For the Love of Russian Matryoshka Nesting Dolls

Updated on January 5, 2020
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Laura likes retro, vintage, old things. Choosing to preserve or repurpose is her dilemma - can't change your mind once started.


I bought my first Matryoshka doll at the Canadian National Exhibition. I had wanted one for years, since the first time I noticed them at the CNE (or The Ex, as we also called it).

I didn't know anything about the Russian dolls then, not even the right name for them. A lot of people don't know them by anything more than "that Rusian doll set". The proper name is Matryoshka (other spellings - Matroishka and Matreshka). They are also called nesting dolls or stacking dolls.

I had seen them here and there and thought they were pretty, but more than that, I saw the history and the legacy to them. I have always been a history fan. Those Russian dolls were far too well known and wide spread to be something without a great history to them.

The first Matryoshka doll set are displayed in the Museum of Toys in Russia.
The first Matryoshka doll set are displayed in the Museum of Toys in Russia. | Source

The First Russian Nesting Doll

The first doll set was carved in 1890 by Vasily Zvyozdochkin from a design by Sergey Malyutin (a folk crafts painter). The doll set was painted by Malyutin, eight dolls staring with a girl in a traditional dress holding a rooster. The inner dolls were girls and a boy, the smallest was a baby.

Zvyozdochkin and Malyutin were inspired by a Japanese made doll. In turn, I read the Japanese say this doll was inspired by a Russian monk originally.

Traditional Matryoshka dolls have the theme with women and girls in traditional Russian dress. However, new dolls can have any random theme under the sun. Try looking up nesting dolls and anything other theme or idea and see what you find. Chances are there will be something in any theme for anyone who wants them.

I'm more of a traditional type. I like the history and prettiness of the doll in her Russian dress/ costume. Especially those with flowers painted on the skirts. But, I do have a weakness for the winter set too. All blue and white colours with snowflakes instead of flowers.

I Love This Tea Cosy Doll (Pattern Available)

These are already sold but I'm hoping she will make more.
These are already sold but I'm hoping she will make more. | Source
A pattern for sale.
A pattern for sale. | Source

Read More about Matryoshka Dolls

The Art of the Russian Matryoshka
The Art of the Russian Matryoshka
Save on clutter and dusting and keep a coffee table book of Russian doll art.

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