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A Russian story, nesting dolls

September - 24 - 2012

Each culture has a specific symbol, which speaks out its name perfectly. Talking about the famous country of  Russia, it is hard to choose only one. When you have a tradition for vodka, for cold winters, the princess Anastasia and Rasputin, limiting yourself to only thing might be a shame. Still, who hasn’t heard about nesting dolls? Whether they are bought as souvenirs and used for decoration, or offered as top gifts for mom, Russian dolls enjoy huge worldwide popularity.

A Russian story, nesting dolls

The Matryoshka, as they are also called, is the name of the set of dolls, which come in different sizes, from bigger ones to tiny dolls. The purpose is to put one inside the other. They look like magic dolls and they are simply fascinating.  Any trip to Moscow should come back to your home in the shape of such a doll. There are many legends that go around about the birth of the nesting dolls. 1890, a time of blossom for the Russian economy and art, was the birth year of the Matryoshka, made by a  Russian craftsman, Vasily Zvyozdochkin.

Since then, the actual process of making this doll was the mark of the Russian wooden art. If you are wondering how  these dolls are made, then here are some facts about the used techniques. First, you should know that the proper wood for the nesting dolls is the linden tree. This wood is used, because of three main reasons: it is plenty of it in Russia, it can be easily chopped down and easily carved. Not any piece of linden wood can be used. It has to be fully dried before being carved, a process which can take up to two years. The linden is cut into several pieces and it is important to note that by making a set of dolls from more than 1 piece, you will have problems getting them one inside the other.

Secondly, the carving process starts with the smallest of the dolls, because this Matryoshka won’t have to open up. One of the main instruments any craftsman will use is the turning lathe. The way in which the smallest doll will look like, will give the indications for the rest of the dolls. The lower half of the next doll, first one that can be opened up, will be set on the turning lathe, being shaped up. The same thing will happen with the other half and afterwords the two will be put together to check whether they fit or not. These are the steps followed for all the nesting dolls in a set.

The painting and the finishing lines are all about tradition. Painters that decorate the dolls have to be well acquainted with the properties of the wood, in order to use the right materials. Culture, represented by national costumes and important figures, like politicians, different fairytale heroes, is the main source of inspirations.
The online store helps you pick real Russian art pieces, from different Matryoshka models to clothing and jewelery.  If you are passionate about interior design, this site can offer you various objects that will give your home a Russian look. A fun and original idea would be to use Russian nesting dolls as practical wedding favors; we say practical because they are not only cute decorative objects, but they can be used as storage as well, for smaller objects you tend to lose track of.  Nesting dolls are also some of the top mothers day gifts. If you are one of the lucky people who gets to visit Russia, you can come back with these dolls and offer them as a present for your mother. Unlike others gifts, they are charming, creative and original and they will definitely make a lasting impression.

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