Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Nesting Dolls - Christmas Tradition #1

Over the years I have started a few holiday traditions of my own.  Most are collections that I have started for holiday decorating, others are special themed gifts given on certain days.  The first that I will tell you about came about because of childhood memories.

When I was young my mother had a small collection of intricately hand painted wooden dolls that fit inside each other.  We called them nesting dolls.  I spent hours playing with them whenever they were on display.  (My mother did not display anything that we weren't allowed to touch - even the nicer things were there for us to discover - I hope some day I learn to be that relaxed :) Anyhow, I now know that these dolls are called Matryoshka dolls and originated in Russia. 

According to wikipedia, a matryoshka doll, or babushka doll is a Russian nesting doll which is a set of dolls of decreasing sizes placed one inside the other. The word matryoshka (матрёшка) is derived from мать (mother); literally it means "dear (or little) mother."

The original babushka by Zvyozdochkin and Malyutin
The first Russian nested doll set was carved in 1890 by Vasily Zvyozdochkin from a design by Sergey Malyutin, who was a folk crafts painter in the Abramtsevo estate of the Russian industrialist and patron of arts Savva Mamontov. The doll set was painted by Malyutin himself. Malyutin's design was inspired by a set of Japanese wooden dolls representing the Seven Lucky Gods. Malyutin's doll set consisted of eight dolls—the outermost was a girl holding a rooster, six inner dolls were girls, the fifth doll was a boy, and the innermost was a baby.  In 1900, Savva Mamontov's wife presented the dolls at the World Exhibition in Paris, and the toy earned a bronze medal. Soon after, matryoshka dolls were being made in several places in Russia.

 But, enough about history...while I was online searching for a possible addition to my collection, I spotted this beautiful Russian Troika Nesting Doll for sale at The Russian Store.  This one of a kind 30 piece nesting doll is hand carved and hand painted. It is imported directly from Russia. It features a gloss finish and Russian troikas racing across a winter landscape. 

Can you imagine?  30 pieces?  I would be in nesting doll heaven! 
Look at the intricate details that are handpainted on each doll. 
Below are some more beautiful dolls

That's a compulsion - not a collection! (source unknown)

Aliona Doletskaya (Editor of Vogue Russia) celebrated the 10th anniversary of this institution with a collection of 31 Matryoshka dolls

Chanel Russian doll clutch £2.500

These remind me of my mother's dolls that I played with as a child (source unknown)

By the way, the cost of the 30 piece set that I fell in love with?  A mere $1918.99...I am on your Christmas list, right?  Well, if not, be sure to let Santa know that I have been a very good girl this year! [wink]