The Popularity of Russian Nesting Dolls
Among other famous exports like Faberge eggs, Lacquer boxes, and the Baltic amber, the most popular among these is undoubtedly the famous Russian nesting dolls. Originally inspired by the Japanese, Russians have infused their own style with elaborate paintings and detailed carving. While some believe that these dolls are a contemporary representation, there are some who find this rotund woman to be symbolic of the Russian peasant woman with her large family and hence called Matrioshka or Little Mother.
While modern day designs represent everything from animals, cartoon characters, and even political figures, the typical and the most popular image is of a rosy-cheeked woman with her head scarf and apron. For the uninitiated in Russian art, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the choice of garishly decorated Russian nesting dolls, hurriedly put up for gullible tourists. However, a closer look at the simple yet beautifully painted dolls shows the amount of detail that goes into making a perfect Matryoshka. Every doll has a character of her own and has a certain kind of presence, with her clothes and decorations. There is a certain consistency of style that is involved when making these dolls.
While dolls in souvenir shops sell for a few dollars, there are some dolls made by reputed artisans that sell for anything between a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. Indeed Russian artisans take their art very seriously.
Apart from the technical aspects like the shell being too thin or the dolls that are to be carved to perfection, typical Russian dolls need to have certain prerequisite characteristics. For example, her eyes should be kind; her headscarf that represents protection should be perfectly painted. Her apron also signifies the home, to which she is so devoted. A typical Russian doll is seen holding flowers (that represent the region that are made from) or a hen (the hen is referred as an ancient symbol of happiness). The colors that are used are primary colors like red, yellow, blue and green.
The dolls are perfect Russian gifts to girls as these often symbolize fertility and happiness. Thanks to the internet, you can buy these from online Russian souvenir shops (usually run by Russian immigrants) that sell other Russian collectibles like Faberge eggs, jewelry made from Baltic amber etc. For those looking to gift these, these handmade dolls would be gift wrapped free of cost and sent directly.