Rotund and cherubic brightly painted wooden figures of women nestled within each other depict the rich tradition and culture of Russia. Generically known as Russian Nesting Dolls, these legendary creations are actually called Matryoshka which, when translated into English, is rooted from the word, ‘Mother’. So, as its 100-year-old history puts it, matryoshka represents a chubby motherly figure depicting a flourishing peasant family. It is in fact a family of as minimum as 5 to a maximum of 30 dolls in descending size, fit into each other. Even now nesting doll is considered to be a symbol of motherhood and fertility. A mother doll with numerous dolls-children perfectly expresses the oldest symbol of human culture.
Matryoshka stacking dolls is the most popular and classic Russian National souvenir since they are product of the Russian folk tales. Gifting these cheerful fat dolls means wishing someone prosperity. Typically, each set of these dolls are set in different moods and are used to communicate specific themes…be it emotions, the four seasons, music, sports, flowers, occupations, leaders…the list is endless. But the traditional doll is the young Russian peasant girl, in the traditional Russian attire with a scarf covering her head. Due to its lateral properties, these Russian Nesting Dolls have gained immense popularity the world over.
Various occasions of gifting Matryoshka :
As mentioned earlier, Russian Nesting dolls are used to express a sentiment or compliment a theme. They can be used a customary gift on occasions such as Mother’s Day since it represents fertility. There are several other types and designs that can be used for gifting on specific occasions. E.g. Dolls made on the Christianity theme or Santa dolls work well for Christmas. Dolls made on sports theme like soccer or basketball or even popular tennis stars make a great Birthday gift option for a Sports lover. Weddings are yet another extremely important occasion to gift thematic dolls. Besides these Russian Nesting Dolls can be presented as house-warming gifts, collectibles, children’s toys, desktop items and so on.
Matryoshkas are available in a humungous variety ranging from Animals to Russian women folk band. Dolls with felines or pet dogs, with musical instruments like the guitar, drums etc., with flowers, on cartoon characters like Charles Chaplin or Tom and Jerry, different Nationalities like African or European are just a few of the innumerable variety of nesting doll themes available in the Indian market today.
Why gift a Matryoshka ?
As mentioned earlier, a Matryoshka has heritage value and makes a classic gift. Moreover it is the handmade value that makes these Russian Nesting Dolls a priceless gift. Russian craftsmen are a genius lot who, with their artistry skills can create exact smaller replicas of the former in a way that these figures fit into one another. Trees are cut just before spring when they are full of sap and stripped of the bark. When the logs are ready, the craftsmen, with their tools, chisel the most intricate of details to create one set. The set is then painted with bright tempera by hand, in a way that it reflects the deep emotions of a woman and then these finished with glossy lacquer. In a nutshell, making one set of a Matryoshka is a tedious and laborious job.
Russian nesting dolls epitomize the spirit of time…be it the present or the past. They have a story to tell, a message to communicate which makes it such a wonderful gift option. At the same time, it holds legendary value owing to the fact that it is a folk art made with excellent precision and beauty. It is a sculpture of Russian legacies and paintings made from the colors of their emotions that represents the soul and image of Russia.